James Curran (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2001
Born: June 9,1903, Omaha, NE
Died: February 12,1968. Omaha, NE
James Curran, the son of Irish immigrant parents will be remembered for his successful design of the first workable chairlift system that was installed at the new Sun Valley Resort in 1936. Although he had only high school and night school training he was able to pass the state licensing examination for professional engineers. He applied his designs for an aerial conveyor system moving bananas into the holds of ships in Honduras to the movement of skiers by chairlift. Although his concept was regarded as too dangerous by the engineers at the Union Pacific Railway, skiing consultants for Sun Valley gave his idea their quick approval. Curran's application of an industrial design to recreation makes him the pioneer designer of the first chairlift in the world.