Seattle's Newest Stairway
Tuesday, September 17
Jake Jaramillo in Charlestown Hillclimb, Donald Fels, Judith Yarrow


The Charlestown Hillclimb is the newest stairway construction in Seattle, completed this June (at S Charlestown Street between Courtland Place S and 37th Avenue S). The new stairway greatly improves the pedestrian connection between Rainier Valley and Mount Baker, and it adds striking views and cool art into the bargain. We met recently with Judith Yarrow, one of the local residents who was instrumental in working with the city to get the new stairway built.

Judith told us that before the stairs were in place, a narrow footpath headed up the slope where S Charlestown Street ended. It was slippery in winter and tended to get overgrown with blackberries in summer, and had probably been in use since the neighborhood itself was built, maybe 85 years ago. In the early 2000s she helped found the Friends of Charlestown Hillclimb, a group of residents who obtained Department of Neighborhoods grants to make initial landscaping and art improvements at the top of the Hillclimb. They also developed conceptual plans for a future stairway that could become a neighborhood gathering place. You can learn more about the Hillclimb project and its history at the Friends of Charlestown Hillclimb website.

With the stairs now in place, Friends of Charlestown Hillclimb are working on the final landscaping touches. On four consecutive Saturdays starting October 19, work parties will be held to put in plantings. Volunteers are needed and welcomed!


Article originally appeared on Seattle Stairway Walks (
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