Monarch says the lathe was sold new to General Electric in Waukesha, WI, and had a complete rebuild in 2001 for Midwest Generation in Romeoville, IL. So the "came out of a power plant" story tracks. Looks like the Romeoville plant was shut down in 2022.
$9k is 10EE range, but not always collected. I'd bet 75% are priced by search not valuation. If you run a good one, it's evident worth every penny. There are a few toolroom lathes; some are 'toolroom', some are "toolroom", some just hype. Lathes to lathes, and quantity available, Monarch is the pinnacle.
The cross slide lash is near 99.99645% certain of adjustment at external end; maybe just the spanner screw, often from drag of the graduated dial. The design is fine, just inattentive operators.
That being 'operators' who are careless, because they didn't pay for it.
The lathe certainly has some of the additional toys that many of us wish ours had... I can't complain, owning a 30 incher with ELSR, Taper, a VFD that I’m almost totally happy with, 7.5 hp, blah, blah. But having the handwheel collet closer, factory covers on the taper attachment in place, taper bed clamp, travel dial, and a recent rebuild from Monarch? Very nice piece of mind indeed. You can do w/o ELSR, VFD, 30 inches, etc.… When I bought mine @ a tool reseller, mine had a BXA tool post with no tool holders. I walked around looking at all of the other lathes & grabbed every BXA related item & told the guy these go with the deal for no additional price or there is no deal. It was not a lot of tooling but it got me started with BXA at least.