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An L.A. Stairway So Secret, Even the 'Secret Stairs' Author Was Unaware

Walking up a staircase in Franklin Hills at this year's Big Parade | Photo by Zach Behrens/KCET
Walking up a staircase in Franklin Hills at this year's Big Parade | Photo by Zach Behrens/KCET

The Big Parade isn't the only way to explore Los Angeles' lovely and nearly-forgotten public stairways. Every month a group of friends, strangers, neighbors with their dogs and city adventurers get together for a walk with Charles Fleming.

If that name sounds familiar, he is the boots-on-the-ground writer who authored the book Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles. A bathmophobic he is not, no stairway has gone un-climbed--or so we thought until this weekend when he surprised himself and others.

From his e-mail event announcement about this week's urban hike:

Now he has our attention.

This, of course, is not a staircase in the most traditional sense, but after digging through city maps, Fleming believes the public right-of-way and ladder he found was meant to be a staircase, abandoned at some point in the past.

Are there any more stairways to be re-discovered? "I'm still hunting," he said over the phone. "I believe there are still staircases that I haven't found, but not many."

Fleming's walks are open to anyone. The June event is Sunday, June 5th at 11 a.m. and will last about one hour and a quarter for a distance of 2.5 miles. Flemming advises that it is not "not terribly rigorous or long, but some of the trails are a little tricky." Meet at the Glassell Recreation Center (approximately 3700 N. Verdugo Road).