I Wonder: What's up with those stone stairs to nowhere?

I Wonder: What's up with those stone stairs to nowhere?

Credit: Mike di Donato/KTVB

These stone steps sit on State Street near the Idaho Statehouse. They were once used to give Boise pioneers a boost as they stepped into a carriage.

Print
Email
|

by Don Day KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @DonLDay

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM

BOISE - Along some of Boise's most historic streets, you'll find something most peculiar: stairs to nowhere. They pop up on Warm Springs Avenue, Harrison Blvd. and near the Capitol Building.

The stone steps start at the sidewalk facing the street, and lead to - seemingly nothing.

On Warm Springs Avenue, the stairs are a few feet from a stone pillar with a metal ring attached.? Both objects are showing their age - clearly relics of a Boise era that has long since passed.

Boise City Historian Brandi Burns did some digging into the origins of the steps and pillar - and found they are the only remaining evidence of a mode of transportation that long ago left Boise.

"They are coach steps," she said. "They are to help a passenger step up easily into a coach."

Coaches once dotted the streets of 19th century Boise - horse-drawn carriages that helped get riders from point "a" to point "b" in style.

"(The steps) are primarily for the more wealthy that could afford their own coaches," Burns said. "Those who could afford coach service or private drivers installed (the post and steps) in front of their homes."

The post with the metal ring helped keep the horse from wandering away.? The steps made it easy for passengers to step up into the often high carriage.

Burns says there is no definitive record of when the posts were installed - but probably in the 1880s or 1890s.? A smattering remain - including one located in CW Moore Park.? That stone pillar was actually salvaged and moved to the park from another Boise location.

Past I Wonder stories

Print
Email
|