by Willard Douglas
It was a gorgeous fall day in late September when Martha, Heidi, Jim, grandson Max and I started our walk. By the time we had criss-crossed The Gulch and strolled up Main and finally up the tallest set of steps in Bisbee, we were mere shadows of ourselves.
Our walk began around 11:30 on the morning of 30 September 2017 at the steps directly across from 226 Opera Drive. Descending these we emerged onto Brewery Avenue (a.k.a Brewery Gulch, ‘The Gulch’) and walked a 100 yards or so before ducking into the public walkway behind 63 Brewery. This walkway up to OK Street passes the gate into the patio of the Silver King Hotel, an excellent small, music venue
and the house at #67A OK Street prior to reaching street level. I couldn’t decide which of the three views of the house I liked best so I’m including them all.
#67A is immediately to the left and below street level in the photo below.
We walked down, past Hotel LaMore at 45 OK Street and ascended our next set of steps, between Hotel LaMore and The Copper City Saloon, to a walkway above the back corner of the hotel. This photo was taken from the top of the walkway. The old Central School building can be seen here over on the other side of the gulch. It is the large, blond brick building in the center of the photo. It is used today as an arts and cultural center. Down on the gulch, just to the right of the white building at lower center the barely visible narrow gap is actually a set of steps leading up past the house with the red roof in the very center of the photo to an alleyway directly behind Central School. We will be ascending those steps in a bit.
The clock tower seen here is on the Pythian Castle at 29 OK Street. It was built for the Knights of Pythias in 1904.
I climbed a few more steps – the remainder of the party remaining behind – to get this photo of an old wooden bench in the yard of a house above the Copper City Saloon.
Our walk continued northward up this shaded walkway above Hotel LaMore.
Up to the right is an old, well-maintained, apartment building barely visible in this photograph. After passing in front it, I turned and took a shot looking back south. Hotel LaMore is now on the right.
Our walkway turned and descended to OK Street between #63 and #69. From here we continued down to Brewery Gulch via Ore and Review Alleys.
I couldn’t resist this shot of the Seance Room and St. Elmo signs above the sidewalk. To the right of the St. Elmo sign is 226 Opera Drive, a familiar address.Immediately to the left of where I was standing is another set of steps, referred to previously, that take us up to the back of Central School.
These Red Rock Cola figures are on the gate of a house alongside the steps and the hillside impromptu art piece was on the other side of the steps. (The art piece disappeared a few days later.) This set of steps terminate at an alleyway behind Central School and it is but a few steps along the alleyway and up another short set of steps to lower Opera Drive.
Turning left we skirted around the Central School down Howell Street and Shearer Avenue to Subway Street, passing this house at #44 Howell.
Along Subway, before coming out onto Main we passed by the back door of Cafe Roka, the finest restaurant in Bisbee (and, in my humble opinion, all of southern Arizona).
A short walk up Main, interrupted by a drink/snack break at The Grand Saloon, brought us to the steps on the north side of #79 Main. These are the tallest, and most interesting, set of steps in Bisbee. There are 181 of them although they are not continuous.
On our way up we passed a total of five houses, several of which had very interesting patio gates.
Finally emerging onto Maxfield Avenue we found some rather interesting yard decorations in a yard there and the family posed for a photo.
We found one more interesting gateand a beautifully painted wall as we descended Maxfield down to Clawson. Clawson dips down to a low point where it crosses Shearer before ending at lower Opera Drive a block later. From there it was but a short, uphill, walk back to the upper end. Our walk had taken almost exactly two hours, counting the time of our break at the saloon.