Now the title on this post is a bit of a misnomer, since a manually-operated elevator doesn't really have a button that mere mortals can push, now does it? But it's an appropriate if slightly stretched metaphor for a big change in a downtown landmark.
For years, the Snow Building has been a fixture of interest downtown, for a couple of reasons in particular: its largely intact and unusual Art Deco architecture, and the fact that it's been home to the last manually-operated elevators in the state. (This spring, it gained some new notoriety when a fire severely damaged a top-floor apartment, though no one was injured and repairs are well-underway.)
Durham blogger Claire reported the sad news over at her new web site, Crone Report. (Welcome to the City of Blogicine, Claire!) The stately old building is changing hands, and the new owners are planning a number of welcome systems and infrastructure improvements, but sadly those changes include a new elevator, too. Not too surprising, and as Claire points out not entirely a bad thing, since the current carriage only works when the operator is on the job during business hours.
More as soon as we have it on the changes in ownership at the building.