Editor’s note: This article is a reprint from author Steve Gjerdingen’s blog, where it originally was posted on July 16, 2023. All photos are by the author.
I was off the bike for almost a month this past summer and realized that I had gotten out of the habit of bike-blogging. During that time I did more walking and a little bit of blogging about some of those walks. One of those walks was a mission to find all of the historic staircases in downtown Stillwater.
I had previously learned that there were five historic staircases in Stillwater and had traversed only a couple of them. I was already in town for the annual Lumberjack Days in July and had been recovering from a food-induced coma of sorbet from Nelson’s, so I figured what harm was there in going for a little evening walk to see if I could visit them all in one fell swoop?
Below are pictures of a three-mile route I did on a Sunday evening in mid-July. The route hits up all five historic staircases. I parked near the intersection of Nelson and 5th and worked my way east making a clockwise circuit. The route was one that I had found on the “Discover Stillwater” website:
I started my journey around 3rd and Olive. The first staircase I visited at 3rd and Chestnut was pretty cool due to the number of steps and the nice view of the river on the way down.
After reaching the bottom, I went east on 3rd and north on Myrtle toward the post office. I then started heading east toward the police station. Before turning east to walk past the library, I notice a staircase going farther up the hill west that was not on my map!
After walking past a cop car in a barricaded parking lot, I made my way to the wooden staircase that looked like it had been installed recently. Upon reaching the top I was greeted by a large dumpster and what looked like a storage facility. I’m guessing this is probably a Public Works building.
I headed back down to the parking lot and was awarded a nice view looking southeast:
After that, I thought I had found the right staircase…
But I was wrong! Said staircase was only about 20 steps and goes onto some kind of private property. I realized I hadn’t passed the library yet so I continued eastward.
And then finally….
After finishing the Mulberry descent, I headed north on 2nd Street. I eventually cut through Pioneer Park and made it to the Laurel stairs:
The Laurel stairs are also a lot of steps. At some point near the bottom you are dumped onto a private driveway from which you descend toward Main Street. On the way there, you pass the Warden’s house.
And finally I made it to the most famous stairway in Stillwater. The staircase next to the historic caves. There is a hotel next to this staircase and a very small coffee shop.
And you can probably see why this staircase is one of the more popular ones:
From there, I continued the journey south on Broadway toward the last set of stairs
Broadway finally dead ends at a park and creates a small road loop around the park. The sidewalk ends before the last staircase.
And finally the Triangle Park stairs!
I headed north on 2nd Street back toward my car but the sidewalk quickly ended:
And then after one more sidewalk-less gauntlet, I was back at Olive Street, which was only two blocks from the end of the circuit (where I had parked).
Note: For readers who want to try the staircases for themselves, the Rivertown Art Festival will be running October 7 and 8, and the annual Stillwater Harvest Festival, billed as “one of the premier events in downtown Stillwater,” will be October 14 and 15.