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The Most Unusual Elevators in North America

Oregon City Municipal ElevatorElevators are not necessarily metal boxes ferrying employees from floor to floor in tall office buildings or carrying residents to their high-rise apartments. Here are some of the most unique elevators in North America.

The Maritime Museum Birdcage Elevator in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada was built in 1899 and is the oldest operating birdcage-style elevator in all of North America. The elevator was intended to be used by Theodore Davie, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, but he died before it was completed.

Gateway Arch TramThe Oregon City, Oregon Municipal Elevator connects the city’s two levels. The lower level is located along the Willamette River, while the upper level is located on top of a basalt cliff. It is the only outdoor municipal elevator in the United States. The Oregon City Municipal Elevator was built in 1915. The original elevator was water-powered and took three minutes to climb the 130 feet from the banks of the river to the top of the cliff. The elevator has been powered by electricity since 1955 and now only takes 15 seconds to make the trip.

Luxor Hotel ElevatorThe Gateway Arch Tram takes visitors to St. Louis’ iconic landmark from the ground to the observation deck at the top. Eight five-seat cars carry passengers in a train. Two trams depart from each leg of the arch every 10 minutes to make the four-minute trip to the top. Passengers remain level throughout the trip, similar to the way passengers do when riding on a Ferris wheel.

The pyramid-shaped design of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas requires its elevators to travel at a 39-degree angle. Passengers can look down at the hotel’s atrium, which is one of the largest in the world.


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