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Queen Anne staircases are like stepping through history

They also make for a great workout.

A vintage photo of the Comstock staircase in Queen Anne, leading to a retaining wall.

Many of the older staircases in the neighborhood were first constructed with wood.

Photo via the Seattle Municipal Archives

Step right up, folks — today, we’re traipsing up the epic staircases of Queen Anne.

Due to its hilly topography and old age, Queen Anne has a whole treasure trove of public stairs. In fact, out of the 600+ Seattle staircases maintained by the city, 121 are located in Queen Anne alone.

Former Seattle architect Thomas Horton helped map out the stairs on a website when he lived in the neighborhood years ago. He recently shared some of his faves with us.

Legendary summits

Wilcox Wall, Eighth Avenue West at West Lee Street
Architect Walter R. B. Wilcox intended to make the stairs part of an urban parkway encircling the hill in the 1910s — but the project was never completed. Many parts are still used by joggers since the 785 steps are quite a workout.

Comstock Grande Dame, Comstock Avenue, East of Queen Anne Avenue
There are three landings on this hidden gem, and the upper landing may be the highest in the city. “There are switchbacks and greenery on either side,” says Thomas of the scenic path. “Just wonderful canopies.”

Boston Street, 2200 Block of 11th Avenue West
We ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but in 1921, a young woman supposedly died on the precarious wooden stair here while going to meet her fiance. According to lore, another woman almost fell to her death years later after hearing a voice from the beyond.

Those that climb the now-concrete stairs on the haunted hike map can earn a certificate for bravery — as you should.

Looking for more?

Thomas no longer maintains the stair maps since he moved, but you can get paper versions at local businesses like Queen Anne Book Co.

Be sure to also check out the Queen Anne Historical Society, which chronicles the neighborhood’s rich past — up, down, and all around.