Let's See Those Unbelievable Elevators

Most elevators are pretty simple. Most are just there for part-time efficiency, getting you from somewhere low to somewhere high. However, among the daffodils of people movers are a few roses of indoor transportation.

In the Art Towers of Sheffield, England the paternoster lift is one of the last remaining doorless, continuously moving elevators; it’s also one of the largest. In Queens, New York, in a former Macy warehouse building, another elevator opens its doors to a psychedelic field of dreams. The walls appear warped, as mirrors make the elevator seem larger than life. These are just a few examples of elevators that have risen to the level of artistic and historical treasures. Now, we’d love to see more!


(Image: Michel Paz/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about the greatest, most unforgettable, and downright incredible elevators you’ve ever encountered. Tell us where it was located and what made it so special! Indoor, outdoor, underwater, every elevator’s fair game! Be sure to include any pictures you might have as well. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura!

Oh I don’t have any pictures but the old warehouse, right across the street from American Doll in NYC, that is the fashion supply store called “Mood” still has and uses an antique lift with an elevator operator to help you close those heavy (triple layered) doors so you can get from one department to another since each floor is a department. You can find anything you’d ever need to create a spectacularly new & chicly designed outfit from scratch and actually enjoy running from department to department looking for that “one special accessory”! I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re in NYC. *BTW: does the fashion creating part sound familiar? It should because Mood is where the contestants on “Project Runway” get all their supplies so check ahead to be sure they aren’t closed for a shoot, then take the elevator (I don’t even know where the stairs are located because it’s too much fun to resist even if there’s a line for the “lift”…) TTFN kpg

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Wow! Love the artistic architecture of the [elevator shown]("read here. ) above. We have regular elevators in my city. On the contrary, I prefer taking stairs instead of the elevator because it makes me more healthy.

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70 Pine St. NYC. Elevator to observation deck is hydraulic - pushed from below and not pulled from above. It pushes through a plate in the floor and then recedes to leave a 360 degree view from one of the tallest buildings in Manhattan. Elevator is like the building… beautiful art deco.

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These gorgeous terrazzo elevator cabs are featured in the Norfolk Southern Corporation Renovation in Atlanta, Georgia. Each cab highlights a different railroad company.

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Thats super cool and educational. Thanks for sharing :beers:

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Thanks Jonathan! We at the NTMA love Atlas Obscura!

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The elevator in the St. Louis Gateway Arch is something. Here’s a video of people getting on it. YouTube Here’s a description: Tram System - Gateway Arch National Park (U.S. National Park Service) Perhaps it’s more of a tram than an elevator, but it is fun.

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria VA has elevators that move vertically and horizontally at the same time. https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/facts/freemasonry/the-george-washington-masonic-national-memorial/ “Designed to fit into the southeast stairwell, the company overcame the 7.5 degree incline of the stairwell by putting wheels on one side of the elevator car to keep it vertical.” [129] "They [the elevators] were 61 feet (19 m) apart on the first floor, but only 4.5 feet (1.4 m) apart at the observation deck.

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That is wild! Thank you for sharing the video!

There is an outdoor elevator in Albufiera, Portugal that takes people up from the beach to the road.

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I’ve been on the Sheffield Paternoster lifts, they’re quite fun hopping on and off!
And from a male chauvinist perspective they’re brilliant at this time of year when the amount of clothes being worn by students decreases markedly. Just saying…:wink:

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It’s not much to look at, but the elevators (lifts if you’re British) at Walsall New Library in the Black Country have the floors announced by Noddy Holder, singer with Slade and national treasure. Truly a surreal experience!

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This one here in Madeira, which leads a few hundred meters down to a fruit plantation. Not as scary as it looks like. There a only a few people per day using this elevator, so you have to ring a bell from the „lower floor“ to get lifted upstairs.

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In Amalfi, Italy, a glass-sided elevator runs from the street level to the incredible Santa Catarina hotel at the top of a high cliff. For the first part of the trip, it runs through the rock, then runs outside for the latter part of the trip. Quite a unique experience!

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The brief explanation did not make clear to me what was so unique about the elevators. It seems they have no doors to open and shut, but on one side are always open to enter or leave. The description was not complete enough to explain why doorless elevators were a good innovation and how they kept passengers from hurting themselves accidentally or taking the easy way out.

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Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico the birdcage elevator. The first elevator in Mexico according to the elevator operator.

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When I was in the Army in Germany there was a big building in Frankfurt that had one of these elevators. Here is link to the
elevator
abrams !
IGFarbinMainEntrance_l|666x500,50% to the YouTube video: YouTube - I like to take the stairs too. This was neat in the 1980’s.

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Santa Justa Elevador Lisbon Portugal

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Did not know either place had elevators at all - I’ve seen the Masonic building in Alexandria a few times and wouldn’t have imagined them, let alone ones that move two ways at once. Will have to add my list of things to see.

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Karst mountains in Zhangjiajie, where they filmed Avatar.!

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