The Past is Present in Placerville No. 8: Those old High School Steps
Thank you Tina for showing me how to find the steps up the hill to the old high school on Clay. Remember the photo you took of the brambles, directing me to wade through so that I might find the remains of the steps up the hill? It really wasn’t necessary to bushwhack at all to see the steps. Had you been mobile enough to leave your car & walk up the high sidewalk opposite the Blair House, your eyes could have follow the quite-well-preserved line of steps all the way up the hill. Yup, still there since this c.1915 photo, but I could only find 53 steps.
The Beautiful Blair House:
Notice the high, rising sidewalk below the Blair House:
The sidewalk continues into the brambles:
The sidewalk & high school steps intersect inside the brambles
!!! Voila !!!
See, Tina, being inside your car, your field of view was just below that needed to spy the steps. :0) Tall boots and a machete weren't needed at all if I had dared to climb to the old steps from Clay. But, I've been verbally chastised for trespassing private property quite enough lately. Embarrassing, and perhaps dangerous, so, instead, I walked up Grandview to what I think is public property to do my trespassing.
My gosh! Looking good after all these years. Not just crumbling remnants at all.
At the hilltop I did, indeed come across a NO TRESPASSING sign near the back parking lot of the abandoned government (I'm thinkin') building. But, heck! "I'm here!" (It would be wiser to seek permission. I don't know from where.) That's the Blair House off to the left and the top of the school steps is just beyond that piece of fence.
Dazzling photo, Jim. Gonna frame it?
And just to the right of the piece of fence...a trail, sorta, through the weeds.
Down we go......
Up we go.......
Most steps are in very good, safe, shape as shown in the top photo. The few dislodged steps directly above actually seem out of place. I'd guess the stairway continued to be used long after the school was torn down. The high sidewalk below the Blair House plus the steps might have been a handy, favorite pedestrian trek-way up the hill. The steps are not at all as breath-stealingly steep as they appear climbing to the high school in the old photos. And I counted about 20 less than the 72 steps someone boldly asserted/printed on that one postcard photo. Don't know. Things change.
And "things change" brings us to something I've been puzzling over since Tina's blog about the steps running alongside Blair House.
Notice the significant angle the steps subtend from Clay Street.
Notice the near perpendicularity of the steps as they rise from the high sidewalk below Blair House and rise from Clay Street.......
The straight line of steps angle leftward very little, if at all (???).
The Blair House also presently sits at an angle,not quite facing Clay Street, though fairly parallel to the steps. Being unable to find step remnants rising perpendicular to Clay, up a steep hill, is the reason I've looked, searched, in vain for the sight of the old high school. Tina, after finding your August 2010 blog a few months ago, stating that remnants of steps probably remain, I became rather possessed, head spinning, body pirouetting, (quite a silly mental picture, a pirouetting man on the Clay Street hill; that's why I wrote it),searching for those remnants of steps. Ha!
A couple pulled their car to the curb and asked if I was all right. "Oh, yes!"
"Are you sure?"
Betcha they thought I had wandered from the new senior apartment up the hill and gotten myself lost. Ha ha!
Anyway, has Clay been realigned or does an illusion (delusion?) have me confused? I'm thinking it's illusion, perhaps a product of camera lenses and photographer locus but, my, compare the two photos, new vs. old. Now that's some illusion!
One thing for certain. The steps pop-out at the southern corner, toward Main St.,of the present building on the hill. Either Simon Drive passes through where the southern one third of the high school stood or the entire high school was aligned such that it faced somewhat southerly. I'm thinking both.
Bulldozers shape/reshape landscapes much, much faster than nature's unhurried, yet steadfast and dynamic, pace.
Tina again - and I just wanted to thank Jim in Camino for being our guest Blogger today, and for researching this fascinating (if only to us Placerville folk) subject.