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FDR Linked to Abandoned Poughkeepsie Building

An abandoned brick tower overlooking the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie has an interesting past, including ties to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I drive south on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie at least 6 days a week and for years I have been intrigued with this brick tower near Central Hudson. It has been abandoned for many years, but I think someone could turn it into something really cool. Let’s take a quick look at the old Sedgwick Machine Works building.


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The Sedgwick Machine Works building has an interesting story and a link to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The narrow and tall shape of the building makes perfect sense when you find out what happened inside. Sedgwick Machine Works built elevators and dumbwaiters and this building is where they tested them.

According to an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal, Sedgwick was an internationally known company and it’s elevators were in famous buildings like the Empire State Building, Vassar College and Tavern on the Green in Central Park. FDR also had a Sedgwick elevator installed in his Hyde Park home in 1915.

After FDR contracted polio in 1921, the elevator became his means of accessing the various floors in the house. It was never motorized.

The President was afraid of fires and he never wanted a motorized elevator in the house because he thought that if a fire knocked out the power, he could be stuck inside the elevator and not escape the home alive.

The Sedgwick Machine Works building just looks like one of those old abandoned brick buildings that someone could turn into something really cool. A restaurant, club or even a couple of high end condos. I have no idea what will ever become of the building, but it would be a shame to let it fall apart.


BONUS VIDEO – Someone was brave enough to walk inside Sedgwick and you will see that it really is mostly an elevator shaft. It also looks like some gang markings have been spray painted in there.


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