Stairways to Heaven

President John Hennes sent to me some interesting ideas for this column, most of which are based on current events happening on Queen Anne Hill. One of these is the forthcoming opening of the new Bartell’s on top of the Hill. Your correspondent was unaware that this event was so close. This is one of the problems of not living on the Hill. I miss out on a lot of events, but more than that, I miss just walking around the Hill and seeing the great and wonderful older homes, structures, parks, and stairs.The latter is one of my favorite memories of living on the Hill. I had to run down the steps at Third Avenue North whenever I went from the high school down to Memorial Stadium for an afternoon football game. Years before that, I often climbed those stairs with my family. We would often go up them after sunset, climbing the stairs all the way to Highland Drive, where we would walk along, looking at the beautifully lighted houses and the maze of stars overhead. Occasionally we would see an airplane heading north towards Alaska, a gray shadow against the night.

We would walk west to Queen Anne Avenue, then reverse our steps and go back to Second Avenue North, where we took a different set of stairs down to Ward Street, strolling along past still-wooded sections of property, and back down the stairs to our house (3rd N and Ward). That house has been radically altered in just the last two years – with an enormous double set of buildings on the property. The hedge which bordered the north side is gone, as is the back yard, and the rockery in front, which used to be covered at various times of the year with pinks, larkspur, iris and other seasonal flowers, is also gone.

Changes occur when we least expect them, sometimes for good, sometimes not. This means that it is that much more important to take photographs of each piece of property before it is changed, and also to take pictures afterwards. How much less rich our archives would be if we could not access illustrations of “what it was like before” to share. I have lived around stairs all of my life, either indoors or outdoors.