A seemingly odd question was posed to the Casper (Wyoming) Star Tribune back in 2008 concerning the number of escalators in the city.
Investigative journalism at its finest from reporter Megan Lee revealed an equally odd response: There was just one, inside Casper's First National Bank.
Further review into the matter blew the lid off what may well be the most under-reported story since the dawn of dead-tree press: There were only two escalators in the entire state (the other one being inside another Casper bank).
Well, in actuality, there are two sets of escalators — one goes up, one comes down — but that's still pretty remarkable.
The Atlantic's Megan Garber decided to do some digging to see if anything had changed in the last few years — they did just build a new airport terminal in Jackson Hole — but, as it turns out, nothing had.
If you're looking for escalator rides in the Equality State, it's still Casper or bust.
Dick Mason, a rep for the Building Office in Wyoming's capital city Cheyenne, broke down this Mitch Hedberg hell for Garber:
"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."
Naturally, Wyoming being the least populous state in the country (more people live in D.C.) also has something to do with it.
"[I]n the Great Out West, I think land is probably cheaper," a Sheridan City Planning official told Garber. "So rather than build up, 'we spread out'."
[screengrab unreleated via YouTube]