New "Old" Elevator Opens the Door for New Businesses

The familiar ding of an elevator might not mean much to most people, but in a historic building in downtown Eastland, it means the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors will soon be open for business.

Granted, the elevator car is from the 1950s, but that isn't stopping it from giving the Eastland County Museum a whole new lease on life.

"Sometimes it worked, most of the times, it didn't," said Terry Simmons, Chairman of the Museum's Board of Directors.

After decades of off and on issues, recently, new equipment was installed to make the lift functional -- a $130,000 endeavor paid for by a loan.

"So now we're pushing to rent the spaces on the third floor, not only to pay for the museum bills, but to pay the note on the loan for the elevator," Simmons explained.

Built back during the oil boom that swept West Texas in the early 1900s, the building has most recently been home to the county museum -- An effort that drains funds that are already low.

"County museums all over Texas have a real problem bringing in dollars," said Jeff Clark, director of the museum.

As for the top three floors -- well, they have sat unused for the better part of three decades -- until now.

Now, the third floor is slowly transitioning into a "business incubator," giving local shops a break on rent to ultimately help fund the museum.

"We're blessed to have a five floor building, the first two floors are taken up by the museum so it might be the top three that help pay bills," Clark said.

The fourth and fifth floors act as storage for now, filled with everything from old records to old mixing machines -- and home to one of the best views in town.

"We really see this as a center of the Eastland County community once its up and running," Clark added.

There are currently two spaces leased already, and five more available on the third floor.

The fourth floor will eventually become an "arts incubator" and feature various galleries and studios, as well as a space for classes.

The fifth floor remains an open question at this point.

The museum will hold a ribbon cutting for the "business incubator" on My 1st at 4 p.m. and give tours to the public.

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