A TOWERING EXPERIENCE — ATHENEUM HOTEL – September 2013

Posted Friday, 27 September

Remember my excursion climbing up ladders through the attic and cupola to the top of the Town Hall the other day?   Are you aware of my interest in architecture and how buildings are put together?  And are you aware of my constant curiosity, and need to know?

This post will not go up until I have left the Atheneum Hotel in Chautauqua, NY.  I respect signs like “keep out” or “staff only,” even if it is only the back servant’s stairway which would be fun to see.  But if there is no posting, and a door is unlocked, it is “fair game,” right?  I got to explore the old attic in the Mt. Washington Hotel that way seeing the old staff quarters.  No sign, unlocked door. Cathy would not join me.

Remaining tower, originally there were two additional tiers.

Remaining tower, originally there were two additional tiers.

The hotel when built in 1881 had a three tiered Mansard Roof tower, but now it is but one section above the third floor.  Just to give you an idea of the height, there are 31 steps from the main floor to the second, and then 22 steps from the second to third floor where my room is (of course I am always walking them).  For comparison, at home I have 14 steps from the first to second floors.

Monday I went to the front stairway for the first time to go down to

Would you be curious?

Would you be curious?

breakfast.  But there were stairs going higher too, but with a wall blocking off the landing before the stairs came back to the next landing where the tower obviously would be.  “Gee, I would love to see the tower,” I say to myself.  But no, that door has two locks on it.  I get halfway down the stairs and say, “Gee, I wonder,” and walk up to the door. IT OPENS, and a few steps in I say, “go get your camera now!”

Below you see what I saw, that probably few people have seen (or cared about seeing).  With all the plaster and lath gone I assumed that it had been removed to reduce weight, and later I learned that the top tiers had in fact been removed in the 1950s due to concern over the stress caused by the weight.  An adventure, and a learning experience.  Enjoy the view!

Coming up the first flight

Coming up the first flight

Heading up the second flight.

Heading up the second flight.

A small formerly enclosed circular stair to the removed towers, now roof. I stopped before getting to the hatch (there is a limit)

A small formerly enclosed circular stair to the removed towers, now roof. I stopped before getting to the hatch (there is a limit)

TOW-4

Corner of Mansard Roof.

Corner of Mansard Roof.

Windows probably removed from the higher removed tier.

Windows probably removed from the higher removed tier.

Looking out towards the Lake

TOW-8

Out a window to the south

TOW-10

And looking north to the Miller Bell Tower and Pier Building

TOW-11

Another perspective of the Tower from the south

TOW-2

This entry was posted in 2013-b - CHAUTAUQUA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A TOWERING EXPERIENCE — ATHENEUM HOTEL – September 2013

  1. scotttho says:

    Ray! You, of all people, sneaking around like a common burglar. Do you have bats in your belfry?

    Cool post and a bold discovery. It’s always easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission.

    Great job.

  2. Ray Boas says:

    Shame on you Scott. You would have been right there with me, probably in the lead. It was unlocked!!!

  3. Roberta Streeter says:

    YES YES YES!!! I have done it – go and seek Good for you Ray!

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