Posts Tagged ‘oddities’

The funiculars (inclines) of Cincinnati may be gone by now, but their legend lives on in many ways.  For those who don’t know (or are curious at all), the city of Cincinnati consists of 5 hills.   In the late 1800’s, as a way to expand the city, a series of inclines were constructed that allowed streetcars and pedestrians to be transported to the tops of these hills.  These hills are now known as Mt. Adams, Price Hill, Mt. Auburn, Bellevue, and Fairview.

How does the legend live one?  Well, for starters, you could go look at ruins of the piers that the tracks once stood on.  But, you could also go up Hill Street in Mt. Adams, where one of the properties has a miniature funicular of its own!  The property is called “The Rookery”, and as its street name suggests, the property sits atop a big hill.  There are steps that lead up to the entrance of the property, but they are very long and could become quite tedious when carrying groceries and things like that.

As a result, the owner installed what is titled “The Hillavator”.   Installed in 1962, the owner Neil Bortz discovered while in San Francisco what looked like a “phone booth on tracks”.  He found the name of the company that manufactured these unique systems and had one of his own installed.

As far as I know, there are only a few other Hillavators  like this in the world.  The Shadowbrook Restaurant in Santa Cruz County is another place with a Hill-a-Vator, and they had theirs built in 1958.  This leads me to believe that the same company built both of these, and that they when they went out of business, there were no more to be made.

However, some people still make their own!  Here is a link showing off one of these gems:


Here are some links showing the Hill-a-Vator at the Shadowbrook:



Here are some pictures showing off the Hill-A-Vator in Mt. Adams:


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