In a city known for its fast cars and freeways, this guide reveals a unique feature of the Los Angeles cityscape: more than 200 stairways across the hilly sections of the city, many of which are remnants from the days when most city residents depended on streetcars and buses for transportation. Containing more than 40 walks and detailed maps, this handbook highlights the charms and quirks of this quintessential feature of Los Angeles’ development and chronicles the geographical, architectural, and historical features of each staircase and the neighborhoods in which the steps are located. Rated for duration and difficulty, the circular walks deliver tales of historic homes, their fascinating inhabitants, and troves of historic triviasuch as where William Faulkner lived while he wrote the screenplay for To Have and Have Not, where Graham Nash lived, and where actress Thelma Todd was murderedwhile other walks highlight spectacular homes by some of southern California's most important architects, including Neutra and Schindler. From strolling through the classic La Loma neighborhood in Pasadena and walking the vintage Red Car Loop in Silver Lake to taking the Beachwood Canyon Hollywoodland hike and enjoying the magnificent ocean views from the Castellammare district in Pacific Palisades, these staircases present a new way for urban explorers to discover a little-known side of the City of Angels.
Charles Fleming teaches entertainment reporting at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He has written for numerous magazines, including LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the New York Times, and Vanity Fair. He is the author of High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess and the coauthor of The Goomba Diet: Living Large, The Goomba’s Book of Love, A Goomba’s Guide to Life, My Lobotomy, Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper. He lives in Los Angeles.