In October of 1955, an inspection party of sixteen went on a tour of the new University Hospital on the UOMS campus on top of Marquam Hill. The party consisted of Dean David W. E. Baird, thirteen members of the board of higher education and other medical school officials. The opening was just 4 months away when thirteen members of the group took an unsuspected and hair raising ride.
Baird led the group onto the 10th floor elevator, the door closed and suddenly the elevator car plunged 10 stories. Other than shaken nerves, no harm was done. A safety plunger at the bottom of the shaft took the load and the elevator came to a softer than a cloud landing.
A. J. Clemmons, building superintendent, admitted that it was a mistake to allow the party onto the elevator. For one, he didn't know that the inspection was going to cover so many floors, and secondly, the unit had not been tested. But, he said, he had asked permission of the installation company if it could be used just once on this very special occasion.
But for those of you who take the Hospital elevators everyday or even for those who take an occasional ride, not to worry. Clemmons assured the public that the drop was not so swift and that brakes were "checking it somewhat". And in nearly fifty-five years, have you heard of this ever happening again?
Article referenced: f1ap68a3