A hotel renovation in Florida has turned out to be an archaeologist’s dream project after developers discovered historical artefacts. The recent renovation of Detroit Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, which opened in 1888, has become a treasure trove of objects from the 19th century.
A report by Tampa Bay Times stated construction workers who were renovating the historic hotel building discovered an intact elevator which is at least 115 years old. The structure still has the old cage-like door and huge electric motor, as are the cables, however they had been cut.
The hotel is being renovated into a steampunk-themed restaurant and for the management, the recent discovery has made their place more authentic. As the publication reported, the Segreti’s Hospitality Group which has taken up the project decided to keep the discoveries.
The workers also found cranks, gears, metal and grime, plus Victorian-era design objects among a staircase which leads to nowhere, a fireplace and the hotel’s old telephone switchboard. The switchboard is made out of wood and it still has the room numbers written by hand.
The makers now plan to infuse their original plan with the recent discovery. As the report said, the elevator might become a photo booth. Segreti’s spokeswoman Dana Speer speaking to Tampa Bay Times said that they are going to restore the place to its historical glory and showcase the hidden treasure of the building.
Behind another wall, workers discovered some extremely old wallpaper that appears hand-painted. They framed it, and are now working to recreate more of it for use in the new restaurant. The staircase won’t lead anywhere, Segreti said, but it’s being restored to hearken back to when it was part of the hotel lobby.
The Detroit Hotel was St Petersburg’s first hotel built by city founders Peter Demens and John C. Williams. The latter gave the land for the hotel to Demens for bringing the railroad to town in 1888. The train station was built across the street from the hotel.
Hotel was named after Williams’ hometown and the original architecture was an ode to William’s native Russia which is also why the name he gave to the city was St. Petersburg.