History, Hollywood, and Fitness ~ 5 Photos 5 Day Challenge

hidden staircase

Lindsay William-Ross-laist.com

Fitness is a lifestyle in Southern California — with Hollywood and Beverly Hills in our midst, the latest diet craze and exercise routine is always right here.

You will often see people speed walking while using small barbells (on the side of the street), jogging and biking. That’s right, despite our crazy love for cars and driving, we exercise on the sidewalks for everyone to see and marvel.

But did you know that before Angelenos pledged their love to cars, we were a city connected by trolleys and streetcars? People traveled from their houses in the hills to transit lines via stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.

I will be writing about the L.A. hidden stairways in my next Zoe Sinclair novel, but in the interim, here is the real-life story.

fitness and L.A. adn storytelling

Robert Guerrero climbing LA

There are about 4o0 hidden historic stairways in Los Angeles, built mostly in the 1920’s, many of them forgotten. Today, Angelenos use the stairs for cardio workouts. 

In the very first picture above: it will take you about an hour to climb this path. These steps are considered the most charming and take you past homes of stars like Humphrey Bogart and Bela Lugosi. 

In the second picture above, this set is located in a place called Silver Lake. The stairs are named after the Laurel and Hardy duo, where the two tried to push a piano up the stairs.

And there we have it, So. Cali quirks — from a mode of transportation, to Hollywood shenanigans. And today? Today the historic stairways are a tourist attraction as well as a place for cardiovascular activity.


I nominate Hilary at Positive Letters to carry on the challenge.  I know she’s on a blogging break, but for when she returns. No obligation, of course, only if possible, and here are the rules:

1) post a photo (photos) each day for 5 consecutive days; 2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you; 3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! More importantly, have fun.

16 responses to “History, Hollywood, and Fitness ~ 5 Photos 5 Day Challenge

  1. I grew up in So Cal and never heard of these hidden stairways! Thanks for sharing, Silvia!

    • I knew about the stairs in Malibu, right across from the beach, but never knew about the historic significance and the large number of stairs until I started researching for my next book. Amazing, isn’t it? L.A. really has more history than we give it credit for.

  2. Great photos and I really appreciate the information you shared about them, particularly these stairs.

  3. Thanks funny. I lived down there for 17 years and I never heard of the stairways either. How very interesting. Otherwise, California sounds just the same… it hasn’t changed in the nearly 40 years I’ve been gone. I look forward to your stories about California’s history.

  4. OOps… sorry for the Typo. I meant to say “That’s funny, as I lived down there for 17 years….” I need to train my fingers to type better.

  5. I did not know about those stairways. Next time I’m up LA way, I’ll have to check them out.

  6. This is really interesting, Silvia. I had no idea LA had these although I’m quite familiar with stair climbs in San Francisco. For some reason I think of LA as being flat which I know is not correct !! Funny how we remember some places well and distort others in our minds.

    There have been ‘rumbles’ of reviving trolley lines etc. in urban areas but the NIMBYs keep mass transit from becoming a much-needed reality.

    • It seems the stairs are used by tourist guides and their visitors the most, outside a small group of locals who are aware of their existence. I stumbled upon them during research. I hope they do revive trolleys there. For us, the distances are far too long for any meaningful public transportation system. Nothing like Manhattan or Boston, where they have a real city. Thanks, Sammy.

  7. Hi Silvia – thanks for nominating me … as you know I’m away at the moment – not quite sure of my return and not quite sure if I’ll do this – as I tend not to do challenges – but will try to include the idea on my return.

    I wrote about Lombard Street in San Francisco … but am so interested in learning about the stairs in LA too … and yes I bet they strain the muscles … and we see the work outs along the pavements.

    Lombard banking being the historical term for pawn shops or moneychangers in the Middle Ages in the Lombard district in Italy.

    Loved seeing the photos – cheers Hilary

    • Thank you, Hilary, and no problem re: getting to the challenge. It’s just a fun thing, if time, etc. allows it. It worked for me because I was on a blogging slump. Between San Francisco, L.A. and Palm Springs, California is a maze of interesting and hidden treasures that way.

  8. I love finding hidden places. It’s so fun.


  9. That would be fun to explore.

I welcome your thoughts.

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