|Unique Streets Walked: 47
|Miles Walked: 5.36
|Street Names (italicized streets have been walked on another day): Newton, Windom, Fritz, Manor, Ingress, Brosville, Hackstown, Saint Thomas, Saint Martin, Regina, Lehrman, Saint Paul, Yard, Shamokin, Oporto, Huron, Baldauf, Roscoe, Magdalene, Saint Leo, Crossman, S. 18th, Mission, Sterling, Eola, Josephine, S.23rd, Mary, S. 24th, Eleanor, Leticoe, Caesar, Holt, Sierra, Primrose, Wellington, Salisbury, Fernleaf, Vermont, Marengo, Eccles, Esop, Julia, Arlington, Saint Patrick, Marcus, Gable, Saber, Monastery, Lauer
Today I tackled the South Side Steps, wait, I mean South Side Slopes with my friends Amy and Eric. They have both been walking with me before so I figured that attacking a neighborhood known for its severe slant would be ok with them. We parked on Newton Street at another friend’s house because parking in the South Side can be difficult. This area intrigued me because on the map, it appeared to have a few pedestrian-only ways of passage.
Almost initially we started out in the Knoxville Incline Overlook Park.
The Knoxville Incline was one of two curved inclines (the other was the Nunnery Hill Incline in Fineview) in the city and the retaining walls that contained the railway are still visible from the footbridge in the greenway.
We made our way over towards the Church Route in the Slopes. The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association has put together a great guide for navigating the route. We would end up on this route for a lot of our walk today. The South Side Slopes perches on the hill in stark contrast to the nightlife and business district of the Flats. The area is mainly residential, with a smidge of industry mixed in, and dotted with stairs and churches.
Many of the streets bear the names of Saints: Saint Thomas Street, St Joseph Way (not to be confused with St Joseph Street in Mount Oliver), Saint Martin, Saint Paul, Saint Patrick. We found a large set of stairs on Yard Way. This street started as a normal street but petered out into stairs as it descended down into the flats. As we were going down and down and down I mentioned that for every step down we went, we would have to go back up to get back to the car. Regardless, we kept descending. We found ourselves on S. 18th Street and could see down into a valley that had at once held something worthy of decorative driveways.
The 1923 Hopkins Maps shows that this area used to be home to the Sankey Brothers Brick Yard.
This didn’t satisfy my curiosity so I looked at the aerial maps from 1993. There appeared to be a large building that is no longer there. If anyone knows what this building was, leave a comment.
We got to the Mission Street Bridge that runs over this valley and Amy refused to walk on the grated metal sheet that served as a sidewalk.
We needed to stop for some water so we made our way down to the Rite Aid in the Flats. It was apparent to everyone that we had a lot of climbing ahead of us.
Taking every chance I could to stop while walking up the gigantic Eleanor Street Stairs I noticed this cantilevered house behind the Emerald Art Glass warehouse.
I did some research and it was designed by Fisher Architecture for the owners of Emerald Art Glass. You can get more information and see some beautiful pictures here.
We kept going up while also hitting the streets that ran off of Eleanor Street. I was the slowest on the steps and I like to think it’s because I pause to look around. Nope, I’m just that slow. Eric was taking steps two at a time and Amy tapped into an energy reserve I can only dream about. If she can get out of bed today, I’d be surprised (Sorry, Amy!) While I was trying not to beat myself up about being so slow, I realized that the other two had missed Caesar Way and I wanted to walk it. I called them back down (so sorry!) and we walked on a “path” that was basically plywood on mud. It took us to Sterling Street which was another inclined street with stairs for a sidewalk. On the west side of Sterling we could see a huge area that this time of year looked like the Swamps of Sadness.
We all felt like Artax while walking up and up. Trigger Warning for Millennials…
This area was actually another greenway that used to be home to the St. Clair Incline.
We went into the greenway and got muddier than Atreyu trying to find our way to Salisbury Street.
There were many paths through the greenway and we took a few wrong turns. Eventually we found out way out of the mud and saw this neat old fire station-turned-house.
The new station is around the corner on Arlington. Despite the old adage, “never give up the high ground” we did and took Saint Patrick down towards the old Brick Yard and then back up some steps that ran off of S. 18th Street. More stairs, more mud in the Knoxville Incline Overlook Park. Almost to the car we found a street that appeared to only exist in stair form. Lauer Way. I love finding those.