Washington, DC: World's Oldest Working Elevator

Now owned by the Smithsonian, and protected behind plexiglass.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Address:
637 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Directions:
Midtown, on Indiana Ave. NW between 6th and 7th Streets NW, just north of Pennsylvania Ave NW. Currently in Potbelly Sandwich Shop.
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Visitor Tips and News About World's Oldest Working Elevator

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World's Oldest Working Elevator

Just saw the elevator. It should be visited during non-rush hour, otherwise you cannot get near it to see. The lines form right in front of it for sandwiches. Very cool, but it's not lit inside the case so it's a little hard to see. Bringing a flashlight sounds silly but would really help. I borrowed one from the counter guy to peer in.

[J Richardson, 05/28/2009]
Old elevator ad. World's Oldest Working Elevator

The World's Oldest Working Elevator is still inside of Potbelly's sandwich shop.

[Nate M, 05/31/2008]
Oldest Elevator. World's Oldest Working Elevator

After moving into the nation's capital, I decided to check out all of the roadside attractions in this region. The world's oldest working elevator was among the few I observed. There were rumors that it was no longer in existence, since Litwin's Furniture went out of business.

It's true, Litwin Furniture is no longer in business, and has not been for the last two years, according the owner of the African/Asian artifact store, which is only a couple buildings away. Mr. Litwin now resides in a retirement home in Bethesda, MD. The store that once was Litwin's Furniture is now a Potbelly's sandwich shop.

Upon my entrance into Potbelly's, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the elevator STILL exists, but it is no longer in operation. The elevator has been cordoned off with a Plexiglas window - where you can peer in and see the remains of the once-working elevator. The employee of the deli said that it wasn't working anymore since the hoisting mechanism broke off, or something like that. There are a couple signs next to the elevator, promotions back in the day.

[Nat Balsley, 11/23/2006]
World's Oldest Working Elevator

I just came back from lunch at the Top Shelf Bar and Lounge. They are in the building (639 Indiana Avenue, NW) next door to the former Litwin's Furniture store. After he died about five years ago, it was turned into an ethnic brick-a-brac shop. It's now a Potbelly chain sandwich shop. The world's oldest elevator is still there but it's now owned by the Smithsonian Institution, encased in a plexiglass box and is not currently operating. Mr. Litwin used it on a daily basis to move products around his furniture store and to allow customers to take a ride.

[Hugh, 11/23/2006]
World's Oldest Elevator - Lives!

No, it's still there, two doors down from the shop selling artifacts. It's a gray building with Litwins Furniture painted on the front. It's actually the first elevator with a safety device. Fred Litwin is awfully nice, and does appreciate visitors.

[Tom Fennell, 04/15/2001]

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