In the 97,100 square miles that constitute the State of Wyoming, there are only two escalators: one at a mall in Jackson and another at an airport in Casper. That's it. Megan Garber of The Atlantic explains why:
Escalators may be magical machines, the stuff of literature and comedy and epic, epic poetry; they are also, often, less practical than their fellow vertical people-movers. "There are code issues involved with escalators, which make them somewhat less popular," Mason noted. "The code does not want openings between adjacent floors that are unprotected." Say there's a fire: stairways offer people enclosed ways to escape buildings, while escalators generally don't. If you're an engineer thinking about the best ways to move people between floors, escalators often lose the contest. Plus, escalators tend to be more expensive to install and maintain than their counterparts.
Whereas "elevators," Mason said, "are pretty much foolproof."
The dearth of escalators in Wyoming could also have to do with the particularities of the state's buildings themselves. "I think a lot of it has to do with some of the buildings being older," Sue Goodman said -- and older buildings with multiple stories tend to rely on stairways and elevators for their inter-floor transport. Two of the most common settings for escalators are malls and larger airports, and places like Sheridan have neither: their stores tend to be standalone structures. Plus, "in the Great Out West, I think land is probably cheaper," Goodman said. So rather than build up, "we spread out."
(Unrelated photo via Jeramey Jannene)