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Seattle Neighborhoods: Republican Hill Climb between Capitol Hill and the Cascade Neighborhood completed on February 25, 1910.
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On February 25, 1910, a grand stairway that mounts Capitol Hill from Seattle's Cascade neighborhood, known as the Republican Hill Climb, is completed. The stairway is located between Eastlake Avenue at the bottom and just east of Melrose Avenue at the top. The Republican Hill Climb remains in use for 50 years, until the two lower sections (of its three sections) are removed in the construction of Interstate 5. The top third of the Republican Hill Climb is still (2004) in use.
The stairway mounted the hill in three sections. At the top of each section there was a landing and the barrier of a curving wall where the stair split into two to circumvent it, becoming one stair again on the other side.
In the 1960s, most of the Republican Street Hillclimb was removed for the freeway, for as a city engineer explained. "Freeway traffic moves at relatively high speed without interference from cross-movements. Pedestrians, who are a constant hazard to city driving, are entirely removed."
And so, nearly, was the Cascade Neighborhood removed from Capitol Hill. No longer could a pedestrian climb the hill from Eastlake Avenue to Capitol Hill. What was sacrificed was a very invigorating connection between the two neighborhoods.
Paul Dorpat, "Republican Hill Climb," Seattle Now & Then Vol. 2, 2nd Edition (Seattle: Tartu Publishers, 1988), Story 79.
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