This elevator consists of a 130-foot cylindrical shaft topped by an observation deck connected to the bluff and a base that provides a tunnel under the railroad tracks to the elevator. The lower entrance is accented with polished stone. The glass-enclosed observation deck provides an excellent view of the downtown, the Willamette Falls and the river northward.
Statement of Significance: This elevator, constructed in 1955, replaced a 1915 elevator, which was water-powered until converted to electricity in 1924. It was built by James and Yost, contractors from Portland. It is one of only four known municipal elevators in the world. It provides access for the community between the downtown commercial area and the bluff. Prior to the installation of a municipal elevator, residents used a series of wooden steps which dotted the bluffs in five different locations. A permanent set of stone steps was installed in the 1930s (see survey form for Singer Falls and Steps) and a roadway was cut up the side of Singer Hill by the turn of the century. The elevator, which is virtually intact, is significant as a rare type of public structure. Although it is not yet 50 years old (and therefore would not normally qualify for the National Register), it is so unique and essentially intact, that a case could be made that it has met the rule of exception for buildings and structures not yet historic. It should, therefore, be considered eligible as a contributing resource in a historic district and because of its unique may also be considered eligible as an individual resource.
Official address is 610 Bluff Street, but main street entrance is on 7th; also known as "Elevator Street."
One of only two vertical streets in the U.S., replaced earlier water-powered wooden structure that was constructed in 1915. Features a central round shaft with a single car that shuttles 120,000 riders annually. At the top of the structure, a small overlook balcony surrounds the shaft with a long row of fixed windows overlooking the city below. It is one of four municipal elevators in the world and remains only 'vertical street' (Elevator Street) in North America. It is 130' high and is accessed from downtown via a 35' tunner under the railroad tracks.