Renovated elevator delivers visitors to summit of Whiteface Mountain

Published: Jul. 19, 2019 at 5:27 PM EDT
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A newly renovated elevator is taking visitors to the top of the Adirondack's Whiteface Mountain.

A 12-minute drive up the Veterans Memorial Highway in Wilmington, followed by a 400-foot walk through a dark, copper-filled tunnel -- all to get to the newly renovated $5 million glass elevator to the summit of Whiteface.

"You can really appreciate the history of Whiteface and the Adirondack Park and its formations. It gives people an understanding of how old these mountains really are," said Jon Lundin with the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

It takes 90 seconds and travels 27 stories to get to the top.

The highway was dedicated by then-Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt back in 1929 and opened in 1936. The elevator came a few years later. Lundin says Roosevelt, who suffered from polio, wanted to make sure that nothing could stop anyone -- young or old, able-bodied or not -- from enjoying the view of the Adirondacks.

"This is for everyone, everyone should be able to enjoy this breathtaking view," Lundin said.

Whiteface is the fifth highest peak in the Adirondack Park and the only one offering this kind of travel to the summit.

"The highway is the only road in which you can summit in the Adirondack High Peaks and the elevator is the only elevator that is cut in the middle of a mountain," Lundin said.

And Friday was the perfect day to spend atop a mountain, escaping the hot and humid weather with a 15-degree temperature change from base to summit.

"We got out of the car and needed our coats and long-sleeve shirts," said Beth Cain, a visitor from Syracuse. "Even though it's overcast and cloudy, it's just -- it's quite the experience."

At nearly 5,000 feet, an unbeatable view above the clouds -- or sometimes in them -- giving people an elevated perspective on the world.

The elevator closes for the season in mid-October.