Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Stepping into Mission Valley from Hillcrest

Heymatt:

About 30 years ago I heard about some concrete stairs leading from the area around UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest down to Mission Valley. I went exploring and found them, but I only went part way down because it was overgrown and creepy. I think they were around Bachman Place, so maybe the street has replaced the stairs? If you know anything about their history or construction, I’d love to know.

— Terri

Rumors and tales of the lost staircase are plentiful, but actual evidence is hard to come by. I asked a series of friends, many of whom would have been young troublemakers during the age of the steps, if they had any memory of the fabled stairway, but nobody could do any better than, “Oh, I remember hearing about them, but I never used them.” I’d been scratching my head and trying to put together half-remembered facts until it hit me that the U-T had actually published a kind of obituary for the stairway during the ’80s. A little bit of rifling through the musty Alice archives later, and I can confidently report that the 344-step stairway stood for almost 75 years until old age brought it into disrepair and forced its removal. It was 1984, to be exact, that the stairs were demolished to make room for the Bachman Street parking garage. Initially constructed as a part of the old County Hospital complex in the early 20th Century, the stairs connected the hospital with Anthony Home, a juvenile-detention facility. Later, hospital employees and patients would park their cars in Hotel Circle and use the stairs as a shortcut out of Mission Valley. There are also stories about a series of ladders that supposedly led from University Heights down to the TGI Friday’s in Mission Valley, but that’s a tale for another day.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

What San Diego restaurant staffs eat, dumpster diving for dinner

How food critic Naomi Wise started her life in San Diego, how food critic Eleanor Widmer ended hers
Next Article

What San Diego restaurant staffs eat, dumpster diving for dinner

How food critic Naomi Wise started her life in San Diego, how food critic Eleanor Widmer ended hers

Heymatt:

About 30 years ago I heard about some concrete stairs leading from the area around UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest down to Mission Valley. I went exploring and found them, but I only went part way down because it was overgrown and creepy. I think they were around Bachman Place, so maybe the street has replaced the stairs? If you know anything about their history or construction, I’d love to know.

— Terri

Rumors and tales of the lost staircase are plentiful, but actual evidence is hard to come by. I asked a series of friends, many of whom would have been young troublemakers during the age of the steps, if they had any memory of the fabled stairway, but nobody could do any better than, “Oh, I remember hearing about them, but I never used them.” I’d been scratching my head and trying to put together half-remembered facts until it hit me that the U-T had actually published a kind of obituary for the stairway during the ’80s. A little bit of rifling through the musty Alice archives later, and I can confidently report that the 344-step stairway stood for almost 75 years until old age brought it into disrepair and forced its removal. It was 1984, to be exact, that the stairs were demolished to make room for the Bachman Street parking garage. Initially constructed as a part of the old County Hospital complex in the early 20th Century, the stairs connected the hospital with Anthony Home, a juvenile-detention facility. Later, hospital employees and patients would park their cars in Hotel Circle and use the stairs as a shortcut out of Mission Valley. There are also stories about a series of ladders that supposedly led from University Heights down to the TGI Friday’s in Mission Valley, but that’s a tale for another day.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Unexpected views from some San Diego African Americans

"I don't care if you're black or white"
Next Article

Jorge Hank's wealthy nephew heads for White House dinner

Tijuana billionaire's relative an AMLO invite
Comments
3

I believe the stairs are still there. I walked them a few years ago, and they can be seen on Google Maps (satellite view) right now. Evidently, they were not demolished to make way for the parking garage. Rather, their bottom end was cut off and left hanging by the road that leads from Mission Valley up to the parking garage (Bachman Pl.). So you can get to them from Hillcrest pretty easily, but somewhat harder from Mission Valley.

Feb. 6, 2013

I was under the impression that the original stairs weren't even in the same country as the building codes that were developed after their original construction and had to be removed for the parking garage to be installed. However, if you're right that a few of the old stairs got spruced up and are used to access the garage, it's only a small fraction of the original 344, and it definitely doesn't descend into the valley.

Feb. 8, 2013

Matt: The stairs are still there. Ernie is right. They are a bit north of the photo you used. That stair only goes to an old electrical equipment pad. Look at Google maps satellite view. Email me a proper email address and I can send you more photos.

April 18, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close