Funicular: a grade-separated fixed guideway transit system powered by a cable traction designed for steep inclines. A funicular uses two counterbalanced passenger cars attached to the opposite ends of a cable, which is looped over a pulley at the upper end of the track.
A funicular’s two cars move in concert: as one ascends, the other descends simultaneously, an arrangement that distinguishes a funicular from other cable-guided transportation systems — e.g., a single-car inclined elevator.
I saw my first funicular while I was going to school in Pittsburgh. The city has two inclines going from the top of Mt. Washington to the river below. It’s a pretty cool form of transportation. Here’s a short video if you’ve never seen one:
So based on my limited experience, I just assumed funiculars were just another form of public transit. I would have never guessed that individual homeowners might have one.
Well that guess would have been wrong.
In the Mansion section of the WSJ, there was a story about a home in Malibu, once owned by singer Kenny Rogers, that was for sale. Perhaps its most unique feature is that it has its own funicular.
To me, that does not look like a classic funicular, as defined at the beginning of this post, by Wikipedia. I only see one cable car. So it’s more like a single-car inclined elevator; but funicular sounds much better.
The house was once owned by the late country singer Kenny Rogers. Mr. Rogers, who owned the house in the 1980s, installed the funicular only to be slapped with a $2 million fine from local authorities, according to his wife, Wanda Rogers. “Kenny had no idea he was going to get in so much trouble,” Ms. Rogers said when reached by phone.
Sitting on nearly 3 acres, the five-bedroom main house is located on a single level with vaulted ceilings, herringbone floors and floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the gardens. At the entryway, a wall of frosted privacy glass turns transparent at the touch of a button, revealing an office and study, a large patio and lawn and views of the ocean. The property also has a dance studio and a recording studio.
The grounds also include a three-bedroom guesthouse, a swimming pool, a waterfall and koi pond, a sports court and a guard house. Residents and guests can use the funicular or adjacent steps to access the property’s large oceanfront cabana, which has retractable ceilings, a wet bar, a built-in barbecue and fire pit.
Here’s where the funicular brings you when get to the bottom:
If the property appeals to you, it’s all yours.
For the bargain price of $125 million.
I guess funiculars are expensive…