Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stairway to Nowhere

A friendly new reader tipped me off to this little bit of South Pas hiking history. It's on Monterey, about a half block east of Foremost Liquor. I couldn't see anything more than overgrown weeds but apparently, somewhere beyond this (blocked!)entrance 272 wooden steps lead all the way up the hill, topping out on Alta Vista. At least at one point they did. The chain link fence renders the whole area off limits now and my reader said the last time he climbed the stairs was back in 1980. Anyone else?

20 comments:

Dixie Jane said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. EARL!

Judy Williams said...

Ok, I'm going to have to be the one to link to
THE OBVIOUS

Mister Earl said...

And...
THE NOT-S0-OBVIOUS

Laurie: There's a stairway that climbs up the hill from Meridian to Bonita. It's between two houses about 2-4 houses south of Wolford on Meridian. There's public access between the two houses.

And Thank You, Dixie Jane! (I put your poem on my blog!)

Mister Earl said...

AND THE UNUSUAL

Laurie said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Earl!!!

TheChieftess said...

Wow!!! Happy Birthday Mr E!!!

Too bad this stairway is blocked off...I wonder why and by whom???

Trish said...

By the "old timers" (which, apparently, I am included, these were "the City Steps". No one I knew had a clue as to why they were there, or who installed them, but they've always been there as I long as I've known.

my godfather lived on Indiana back before the Altos was more than just dirt and I do remember him saying there were trails and steps around, but I never got a chance to ask him about this.

My guess is that either a liability issue came up, so it was closed, or they are in disrepair & closed.

Friends and I would traverse these steps if we didn't (or couldn't) ride our bikes down the hill. We'd hit Foremost and Papa Don's for snacks & sugar to fuel our trek back up the hill (bottles had a 5c or 10c refund, which would buy us more sugar once we returned them!). Once in a while we'd go up the steps with our bikes in an effort to stay cooler, as it was mostly shaded, but we learned quickly that lugging steel bikes up steps is a pain! (this was before the days of titanium, or at least, before Schwinn used it!

This is, one of the reasons I loved growing up in SoPas---little nooks and crannies, that you had to know about, but were REALLY cool. Like knowing a secret code to get into a secret hiding place. This is the sort of thing I miss from my childhood---and on the days I want to resign as an adult, I tend to think back to stuff like this. Relatively carefree days.

Trish said...

oh & happy b-day Earl! I'm a Leo too!

Judy Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy Williams said...

Mr E - here's hoping your birthday gives you a A Stairway to the Stars

Shanna said...

Happy Birthday Mr.Earl!

Jean said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Earl.

The San Rafael Hills area of Pasadena is also full of these kinds of stairways; makes walking around there an adventure.

Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten about those steps! Thanks for memory lane.

And happy birthday to Mister Ear. I enjoy your comments.

Mister Earl said...

Thanks for all your birthday wishes everyone! And thanks for the Ella, Judy!

Anonymous said...

Interesting! Probably one reason that it is blocked off is that anyone climbing up from there would end up in my backyard or in the backyard of one of my neighbors. Too bad though, I always wanted a short cut down to buy lottery tickets and beer.

It is also possible that there was a residence here once? I notice the mailbox there. Wouldn't recommend scaling the fence and trying to ascend the hill as the poison oak is thick up there.

Laurie said...

I wondered about the mailbox, too!

JF said...

Now that I've looked on Google maps of the area, it looks like there is a trail sized gap between the adjacent properties where the steps probably are. On the street view of 302 Alta Vista (the location where Alta Vista turns into St. Albans) there is a fire hydrant, so it is likely that it is a right of way for the main water line...public property! There's a hedge where the trail entry would be, I want to investigate further!

Laurie said...

Okay, now I must head up there and take a look. Thanks for the legwork, JF!

Ron Stowe said...

Yes the steps indeed became a white elephant to the City of South Pasadena and were closed by the City Street and Sanitation Department because they had become a hazard. Beverly "Jr." Rogers was the foreman of that department at the time.

The structure had become overgrown with poison oak and required constant trimming and carpentry work.

I am told that you could see the boundry marker of the original Indiana Colony from the stairway but I never saw it. All we ever saw was poison oak and beer bottles

Heidi Hevener said...

I used to take these stairs to my grandmothers house on St Albans from school sometimes thinking it was a shortcut (it wasn't really). This was 19...84 ish. Very dangerous now that I think about it and if my mom found out what we were up to..... There were patches where the stairs were missing and the the wood was all rotted. On our last trip my sister got a nasty case of poison oak so we stopped going that way. We liked making up stories about how the stairs got there and where they lead...to secret magical gardens etc. :) Fond memories. I also remember if you so much as blinked you would pass the entrance. I still can't find it on google maps.

When we got older in jr high and high school we would take the snake trail home (we lived on Hill Drive on the other side of the hill)...which was equally dangerous...I would never let my kids walk these trails now. The 80's were a completely different world...

Thanks for reading :)