Monday, February 28, 2011

Winecoff Piano Lovingly Restored

Prior to the 1946 Winecoff Hotel fire this Mason & Hamlin grand piano was used to entertain guests in the hotel. It was badly damaged in the fire but luckily was salvaged a few days later by Thomas Lester Rainwater Sr. He paid an insurance appraiser $15 for it.

Rainwater worked for the Cable Piano Company which, ironically, had been the scene of another famous Atlanta fire. He restored the piano in his home. Joe Durden, another Cable employee, refinished it. It took two years to complete the work.

In 1949 Rainwater donated the piano to the Pine Lake Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. It's been in use there ever since. "My father-in-law worked real hard getting that piano ready and he was real proud to be able to give it to the church," said daughter-in law Dot Rainwater.

Here's a four minute video of Winecoff fire researcher Chet Wallace playing the piano and speaking with church member Jim Davenport, who spearheaded the piano's second restoration in 1992.

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