Republican Hill Climb between Capitol Hill and Cascade neighborhoods in Seattle is completed on February 25, 1910.

  • By Paul Dorpat
  • Posted 5/06/2001
  • Essay 3261

On February 25, 1910, an elegant outdoor stairway that climbs to Capitol Hill from Seattle's Cascade neighborhood is completed. The stairway is known as the Republican Hill Climb because it follows the route that Republican Street would take if the hill were not too steep for a roadway. The Republican Hill Climb will remain in use for 50 years, until the two lower flights (of its three sections) are removed in the construction of Interstate 5. The top portion of the Republican Hill Climb will still be used in the twenty-first century.

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 Hill Climb 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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