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With its labyrinth of interconnecting stairways, cobblestone alleys, pedestrian plazas, and vistas, Bellavista Hill is one of the most distinctive of Valparaíso’s 45 hill neighborhoods. The majority of the houses in the neighborhood were constructed between 1880 and 1940 of oak and Douglas Pine with sheet metal façades. (...)

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Following inclusion on the Watch in 1996, WMF aided a local organization in the restoration of the elevators through the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage and a grant from American Express. The restoration of the elevators helped foster the rehabilitation of nearby public spaces and proved to be a sustainable model for the city and its historic transit system.

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During the late nineteenth century, the city of Valparaíso was a major port between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, however in the early twentieth century when the Panama Canal was opened and the Straits of Magellan were no longer the preferred nautical passage, the port city suffered. (...)

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Declaran “patrimonio en riesgo” dos monumentos chilenos, Wednesday, October 9, 2013
2014 WATCH

The Elevators of Valparaíso have been included on the 2014 Watch to emphasize the continuing need for the restoration of the city’s most picturesque feature and an important vehicle for social interaction. The elevators have served as the main method of transportation along the city’s steep topography and were fundamental to its urban development. They symbolize Valparaíso’s preeminence as a maritime center, a position it lost after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Of the 31 original elevators, only 15 remain, of which just 7 are operational. The loss of these vital transit arteries has had negative impacts on the city. A plan unifying community, municipal, and private entities in a collective effort to protect and maintain the elevators is needed to ensure their long-term survival and the revitalization of important neighborhoods in Valparaíso.

Download a 2014 Watch poster of this site (see download instructions).