TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Sep. 30, 2009 at 9:20am

The Notes of Spanish Steps

Anyone who has dared to visit downtown Tacoma's 93-year-old Spanish Steps in recent weeks might have noticed a curious feature: an array of personal notes and messages scrawled on the columns, decorative urns and pedestals. At first glance, it is nothing more than graffiti. But a closer inspection shows these messages say much about the lost, hidden, and neglected nature of the steps.

Is it art? Is it a cry for help?

It's hard to tell.

Here are some samples . . .

"Tacoma has you and me, with our memories seeping at the seams"

"Art Lives in T-Town"

"Unwanted / Unloved"

"You Just Entered the Junkie Zone"

According to City Hall, the shoddy patchwork and years of deferred maintenance could be addressed soon (of course, that was the story two years ago). The Spanish Steps are in store for a $1.3 million rehabilitation. A time-line for the project (which is current, according to one city engineer I reached this week) is here.

comments [9]  |  posted under Art, Downtown, Spanish Steps, Tacoma


by NineInchNachos on 9/30/2009 @ 9:23am
is the hole where the drunk driver drove through the balustrade still there?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 9:59am
That is freaking AWESOME! I love notes like this on walls... Makes me wish I had a camera on hand when I saw that poem on the utility box @ Division & K.

by Erik on 9/30/2009 @ 1:15pm
The Spanish Steps were to be redone years ago. I don't know why nothing has been done.

"Tacoma has you and me, with our memories seeping at the seams"

Perhaps some artist in Tacoma that did not get a grant.

by Mofo from the Hood on 9/30/2009 @ 1:58pm
$1.3 million dollars?

I walk those steps weekly.

There aren't many steps there.

It all looks like regular concrete to me. Sand, gravel, limestone, and water mixed together, set in forms, and air dryed.

This is a set of concrete stairs, not the Roman Colosseum.

I mean you can call them the Spanish Steps or the Stairway to Bliss or even the Luzon Memorial Staircase, but they're still just a set of concrete stairs.

$1.3 million dollars? Is that what the local guys listed in the phone book yellow pages charge nowadays?

How come local building projects like new houses which require a concrete foundation and sidewalk and driveway and all that–how come new houses with all that concrete work can cost a fraction of $1.3 million dollars?

Does the price for that set of stairs between Commerce St. and Broadway, does that $1.3 million bucks include a 7500 sq. ft. custom home?

by NineInchNachos on 9/30/2009 @ 2:31pm
I snapped a shot of the new arsenic posters I spotted round 11th street bridge. will post photos tonight.

by fredo on 9/30/2009 @ 7:19pm
Mofo-I think your posting deserves an answer.Here's my best shot. The prevailing wages are so high in this area that it's impossible to bring in any project at a cost which would appear to be reasonable. I'll bet we could get some Russian plasterers to recreate the entire spanish steps per drawing and per spec for $50K.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 8:11pm
@ RR... new posters=awesome

does the $1.3M include any kind of foundation/stabilization work? Once you get an excavator out there, costs skyrocket.

by Mofo from the Hood on 9/30/2009 @ 8:18pm
How to Pour Concrete | Do it

Okay, who's in? "Fix the Spanish Steps Party"

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 8:59pm
That, dear sir, would be fabulous. Do we bring our own Quickcrete and a bucket?


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