Thursday, November 21, 2013
Last night I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Onesto Hotel in downtown Canton, which is currently being renovated, with a Canton Food Tour.
I got to go behind the desk and see the old cash register, with buttons for telegraph, cigars, valet, etc. There were still rolls of receipt paper on the shelves beneath it. I saw the old electrical box, the mail slots, and the safe deposit boxes behind the counter too!
There was a mail chute in the lobby (much like a laundry chute where guests on each floor could send down their mail to be sent) that was sealed by the US Postal Service in 1973. While part of the building was apparently used for offices after that, the hotel did not operate past that date.
I felt like a kid at the North Pole. Truly. We even got to go up to the 12th floor -- at the very top! -- and see the new windows that were just installed yesterday. The floor was framed out for the four penthouse suites that will be built there.
The invitation to tag along on a portion of the sold out tour came last week from Barb Abbott, owner of Canton Food Tours. I follow her on Facebook. Last Wednesday I was sitting at home in my jammies on the couch, and she posted a picture of her tour in the lobby of the Onesto. I immediately sent her this picture, which was exactly where she was standing with her group:
You could see the arches of the gorgeous ceiling, and the columns, and the windows. It was one of those amazing moments where the past meets the future -- I could send her a picture of an old hotel, across town, in real time, to share with her group where they were standing. Isn't technology grand?
I mentioned to her that I would love to peek inside that building, so she invited Chris and I to come for part of this week's Corks and Forks tour. She also asked me to bring copies of my new book Canton Entertainment to sell for the Museum Shoppe, which I did. There are a total of 7 photos of the Onesto in the book.
Chris and I stood exactly where the above photo was taken, and looked out at the lobby, imagining couches and potted plants where we could only see marble and peeling plaster. It was nothing short of AMAZING.
For a historian to get to see what she's written about, it's just priceless.
They have restored the ceiling on the entire stretch along the windows and it looks brand spanking new. It was a great time to be there to see the before and after comparison:
After poking around the hotel for about an hour, we took our leave of the group, who was headed to the Canton Club for what I can only imagine was a fabulous dinner. We decided to go to Milk and Honey for a bite to eat before going home. After spending time at the Saxton Gallery and the Onesto, I was definitely in the mood for something local.
Special thanks to Barb Abbott for allowing us to tag along last night. It was MAGICAL.