The new Handicap Elevator was one of the most unique projects ever performed by B. E. Beecroft Co., Inc. As a functioning warship, the USS Lexington had a crew of able bodied seamen with no need for elevators to transit from one level to the next; they simply used ship’s ladders. As a museum ship, dedicated to preserving the history of the United States Navy and Naval Aviation, an elevator from the hangar deck to the flight deck was essential. Without it, visitors of limited mobility could not visit the flight deck where most of the collection of naval aircraft is displayed. In order to preserve the historic appearance of the ship, it was decided to place the elevator in the smokestack. This created tremendous structural challenges since a traditional elevator shaft could not be built.
The USS Lexington CV 16 served with distinction from 1943 until 1991. Every day, the ship is visited by veterans and their families. Many of these veterans served aboard The Lex, or The Blue Ghost as she was known during WW II. We are proud to have played a small part in providing these men and women the opportunity to visit the flight deck of the oldest remaining aircraft carrier in the world.