100-Year Anniversary of Municipal Elevator
Saturday, December 5, 2015 -
3:30pm to 4:30pm
Sat., Dec. 5
3:30 to 4:30 PM
Elevator Observation Deck
Celebrate with hot chocolate & "elevator" cookies
To celebrate the elevator's anniversary, stop by the observation deck for hot chocolate and cookies before joining Downtown's Tree Lighting Ceremony!
Before the first elevator went into service, there were a total of 722 steps from lower Oregon City to the top of the bluff. In 1912, voters authorized bonds to construct and operate an elevator "from the lower to the upper town at some point to be selected".
After years of discussion and conflict, the original elevator, constructed of steel and wood, was placed into service on December 3, 1915, a day on which almost the entire population of Oregon City (3,869 persons) rode the elevator. The 89-foot ride to the top involved a wheezing, jerking 3 to 5 minutes and once at the top, a 35-foot catwalk bridged the span between the elevator and the bluff. The elevator originally operated on hydraulic power but it was replaced by electricity in 1924 and the ride was reduced to 30 seconds. Because of dependability issues, the original elevator was replaced with the existing structure which was dedicated on May 5, 1955. It was officially accepted by the City Commission on July 13, 1955.
The Oregon City Municipal Elevator remains North America's only vertical street in, "Elevator Street", as platted. It is also one of only a handful of municipal elevators around the world.