Hill and 3rd Streets circa 1898 before construction. This was a largely residential area at the turn of the century.
|Angels Flight, the "Shortest Railway in the World," opened in 1901
and quickly became a city landmark. Col. James Ward Eddy was the visionary
who convinced City Hall to grant him a 30-year franchise to construct and
operate an inclined railway.
The funicular system of two counterbalanced cars moving up and down parallel tracks was an efficient means of transporting passengers along the steep grade between Third and Hill Streets and fashionable Bunker Hill. The ride lasted one minute and cost one cent.
Over the years operations were transferred to other powers, tracks were relaid, and the station house redesigned. However, the single-trip fare rose only once, in 1914, to five cents.
In 1959 Angels Flight was destined for demolition as part of the Bunker Hill Urban Renewal Project but loyal riders and enthusiastic supporters thwarted those plans, at least temporarily. During the next ten years the community of Bunker Hill changed dramatically as apartment houses were razed and residents dislocated by the redevelopment project. Ever decreasing numbers of commuters and tourists and lack of funding contributed to the inevitable. Even the designation of Historical Cultural Landmark could not save the Angel and she was dismantled in 1969.
Twenty years later, the Community Redevelopment Agency approved final plans for the California Plaza, which incorporated a restored Angels Flight. Although it took another six years and a good supply of bureaucratic activity, restoration and reconstruction started in 1995 and on February 24, 1996 Angels Flight was re-dedicated, now half a block from its original site.
To fully experience the charms of the city's favorite angel you may visit her daily from 6 AM to 10 PM, at Fourth and Hill Streets. The one-way fare is 25 cents. And yes it's true: there is NO apostrophe in the name.