Oregon City Municipal Elevator


Uptown and Downtown, ways that get there and ways that don't.

For the early pioneers, the only means of reaching the upper bluff of Oregon City, was to struggle along the briar-woven Indian paths. By the mid-1860's, a somewhat more modern city was beginning to take form, and stairs were built to accomadate a more gentle side of living.

With the early 1900's, came the unique idea of an elevator - an elevator, powered by water and designed for comfort. In 1912, a $12,000 bond measure was passed, but it would be another three years before the city would see completion of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator.

It was as grand a ride as one would expect. Three minutes to reach the upper bluff. Three minutes - no mud, no nettles, no snakes, nor thorns.

The elevator proved to be a wonderful success, and in 1924 it was converted over to electrical power, decreasing the three minute ride to a mere thirty seconds. For forty more years it would serve it's community with pride and faithful service.

In May of 1952, a special election authorized $175,000 bond issue in order to build a new and less conspicuous, modern elevator. That elevator is still in service today, and remains only one of four municipal elevators in the entire world.



2000 Roxann Gess Smith
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