Skip to main content

Southern Cable

April 2024
1min read

I read “A Century of Cable Cars” (April/ May) with interest but was concerned that the writer took no note of our incline up Lookout Mountain, which is advertised as the “Steepest in the World!” It was built in the mid-1880s, and a hotel went up atop the mountain a few hundred yards from the terminus.

Cable roads in the West and Northeast are liberally listed in the story, but there is no reference to any system in a Southern state.



The Lookout Mountain incline is a fine operation but, like Angel’s Flight in Los Angeles, it is a funicular, and hence does not strictly qualify as a cable-car line in the classic sense.

We did not include the Southern states in our list of cable roads because they had none. As George Hilton says in The Cable Car in America, his definitive book on the subject, “There never was a [cable] installation in the South, though Atlanta had the population and undulating terrain to justify a line, and New Orleans had a large population together with straight streets.”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate