Kuiper poses in front of the municipal elevator.

Riding the Municipal Elevator

“While I have recognized that the object of business is to make money in an honorable manner, I have endeavored to remember that the object of life is to do good.” Peter Cooper, 1874, philanthropist & inventor of the elevator shaft, gelatin, and 1st American steam locomotive

Kuiper waits patiently to cross Elevator Street in Oregon City, OR. Here’s some pics of the the only outdoor municipal elevator in the United States, as well as the historic staircase! The elevator looks like a 50s spaceship, complete with observation deck.

Oregon City, founded in 1829, is built on 2 levels. By 1867, the original Native American trails weren’t cutting it, so the city built a staircase. 1867 was 10 years after the 1st passenger elevator was installed (in New York City), but it was 14 years after the 1st passenger elevator *shaft* was installed (also NYC), due to optimism of inventor (and all around good guy) Peter Cooper.

Cooper was confident that someone would soon invent an elevator that wasn’t a total death trap. ¬†He was right. Unfortunately, he had bet on elevators being round.¬†Eventually, Elisha Otis, inventor of the modern “safety” elevator, was kind enough to create a custom design for Cooper’s building.

But I digress. The Oregon City staircase built in 1867 had 722 steps, which was quite a hike. In 1912, the growing city voted to build a (water-powered!) elevator. As with all great public works projects, everyone thought it was a great idea, but no one wanted it in their backyard. Moreover, the city website recounts, “Water power was cheaper than electricity, but the City’s Water Board refused to allow the connection, fearing the elevator would diminish the integrity of the water system. The City Commission resolved the matter by removing and appointing a new Water Board composed of City Commissioners.” ??

The original elevator opened in 1915, converted to electricity in 1924, and was fully replaced by the current design from 1955 (thus the aesthetic.?) Not only is the municipal elevator free, but the best part is that you can bring your dog and there are complementary dog treats!!

What’s the coolest elevator you’ve ever encountered?

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bbem5klgSrL/

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