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Elevator Operator Part of Historic Building’s Unique Past

Elevator guyNorthampton, Mass. (WGGB) — On this Presidents’ Day, its common knowledge our 30th commander-in-chief, Calvin Coolidge, hailed from Northampton.

The building in which he practiced law still stands on Main Street… and while there have been a few changes over the years, there is one unique feature that’s remained the same: Dave Tarshus.

“It’s very slow and it doesn’t carry much weight to begin with,” Tarshus said about his office five days a week, the old water powered elevator at 25 Main Street. Formerly known as the Masonic Building, it was built back in 1898. That’s the same year the elevator was built as well.

“There’s a buzzer just like any other elevator. It has a buzzer on every floor,” explained Tarshus. When asked how he knows which floor to go to, he shrugged his shoulders and laughed. ”I don’t really but there’s only four floors so I can’t get too mixed up.”

Dave is something of an oddity in this modern age of automation. He’s an elevator operator and has been here for a decade. Not surprisingly considering his career Dave says his job has its ups and downs.

“You meet a lot of different people. Being in Northampton you meet a lot of different people.”

More times than not, though, it’s the same familiar faces. The building serves as office space. And one of its most famous tenants was none other than Calvin Coolidge. His law office took up a good portion on the second floor and still draws curiosity… and Dave’s unique sense of humor.

“If they ask about it. They’ll see it on the plaque and say ‘well where is his office?’ and I tell them he’s out to lunch. He won’t be back today.”

And unlike the modern versions, this elevator follows a set schedule. It works… for as long as it’s operator works.

“At 5 o’clock I leave. The elevator hours are from 8:30am to 5pm.”  What happens after he leaves? “People have to walk.”

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