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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Oregon City Municipal Elevator
Reference Number 14000181
State Oregon
County Clackamas
Town Oregon City
Street Address 610 Bluff Street
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 5/15/2014
Areas of Significance Transportation, Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
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The Municipal Elevator is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a locally significant structure, eligible under Criterion A: Transportation, as an ingenious solution to a topographical challenge. Oregon City was built on a series of three bluffs. The first and the second levels are separated by a sheer basalt cliff. A railroad track hugs the base of the cliff . This elevator was designed to swiftly move passengers between one level and the other while helping them cross safely below the railroad tracks. The elevator is therefore a unique and highly practical response to the city's dramatic landscape and its intrinsic challenges for pedestrians. Furthermore , the elevator is eligible under Criterion A: Entertainment/Recreation. The elevator's observation deck was designed to be a public attraction, as well as to provide unparalleled views of the city below and the Willamette River. The elevator is also eligible under Criterion C: Architecture as an intact and unique example of a Modern, futuristic approach to design in Oregon City. The elevator uses modern materials like lightweight concrete to create the illusion that its observatory is hovering in space, providing sky-high views of the city below. The elevator's designer, Gordon E. Trapp, broke with historic architectural traditions to create a new, sleek, Modernist icon for Oregon City. The Municipal Elevator retains a very high level of integrity in design, workmanship, materials , location, site, and setting, feeling and association.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria