Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seattle Stairway Explorers Turn Up In Laurelhurst With Fascinating Information

Jake and Cathy Jaramillo are Seattle stairway explorers and have launched a blog, called Seattle Stairway Walks, detailing many stairways in neighborhoods throughout the city, including Laurelhurst, as well as a sharing a great wealth of history of the city.

The couple got the idea to explore Seattle stairways from Cathy's parents who introduced the couple to a book called "Stairway Walks in Los Angeles" when they used to live there.

Jake told us, "The four of us spent many happy weekend hours exploring interesting parts of L.A., getting to places we'd never have seen without the impetus of this little guidebook. As we walked, the book would call out notable architecture, give a scoop or two on famous residences and tell capsule histories of neighborhoods."

So when Jake and Cathy moved to Seattle 10 years ago, they realized the richness of the many neighborhoods, and discovered that there are numerous stairways all over the city to explore.

"So we decided to try to duplicate our experience in L.A. for ourselves and others, by putting up a blog on Seattle's many neighborhood stairways. We hope to turn all this material into a handy guidebook someday. We love Seattle's neighborhood ambience and we want to get more people exploring neighborhoods through a unique point of entry - stairways," Jake told us.

Last month the couple explored stairways in Laurelhurst and documented some fascinating information and history about the many staircases in the neighborhood, some maybe not known to those living in the neighborhood.

Along with providing information on the various stairways and how to find them, the Jaramillos also tell exactly how many steps in each stairway, a detailed map and other helpful information.

The blog also gives a detailed history of the Laurelhurst neighborhood starting from its beginnings in 1910, when Seattle annexed "Laurelhurst," as a small community of less than 20 homes, isolated by water and rough terrain.

"It's a family place - the percentage of households with kids is twice that of Seattle as a whole. Many residents grew up here, returning eventually to raise families themselves, " the blog says.

One of the stairways the couple visited in the neighborhood is the well-traveled in the summer months "Laurelcrest Stairs" very near the Beach Club.

The blogs says  of the stairway "You'll discover a hidden stairway disappearing down a shadowy arbor just off someone's driveway, and pay a visit to an unexpected pocket park tucked between shorefront homes."

Other neighborhood stairways well detailed and documented in the blog are:
  • "Hidden Stairs" starting at the top of NE 45th and ending at the bottom at NE 45th and 55th Avenue NE
  • NE 43rd Street-end Stairs and Lake Access
  • NE 42nd Stairs
  • NE 31st Street-end Lake Access
  • Belvoir Park Lake Access

You can read the full blog post called  "Stairway Walk #6: Laurelhurst" here.

Jake says that their main idea is to help urban hikers explore the "unique and wonderful neighborhoods by way of Seattle's network of public stairs."

The couple hope to eventually have more than 20 stairway walks in neighborhoods all over Seattle in their blog.

In putting together the information on the stairways in Laurelhurst, Jake would like to thank Jeannie Hale and Liz Ogden (past member) with the Laurelhurst Community Club, for their contributions.

Also Jake and Cathy's blog was mentioned in Sunset magazine's January issue in a sidebar to a story on Los Angeles stairway walks.

Pictured above is the view down NE 42nd Street, stairs to 55th Avenue NE and the Lake.

Stairs to Pocket Park on East Peninsula, at 55th Ave. NE and NE 43rd Street

Laurelcrest stairs - 82 steps down

1 comment:

mossrunner said...

I love that blog. Public stairs are such a great amenity for the city, and they each have a unique history.