Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Seattle is certainly a city of hills. Local lore would have it that Seattle, like Rome, was built on seven hills, but as the city spread outward, many more were encompassed. In fact, outside of San Francisco, Seattle may be the hilliest city in the United States. Seattle's relatively recent growth put technology on the side of development and allowed urbanity to essentially disregard the area's topographical variation.
And yet, although it certainly doesn't feel like it, there was a time in Seattle's past when getting up and down these hills involved more effort than simply pressing harder on the gas peddle. The Queen Anne Counterbalance is probably Seattle's most famous mode of ascencion, but a much older and simpler mode, was the staircase. Just like, streets, lamps, waterpipes, and electricity, stairways were, for many years, part and parcel of the city's infrastructure. In some of the cities steepest areas, steps have been a necessary part of transportation.
Sadly, as car culture has consumed us, Seattle stairways have been neglected and underused and money towards continued building, or even improvement, has been altogether diverted. Nonetheless these wonderful pieces of construction still remain hidden away in every neighborhood of the city, each has it's own distinct feel and character.
And so, in an effort to revive the love of these foot-friendly passages, I give you a photographic Ode to the Seattle Staircase. Enjoy!