A century ago Eugene's hospital was located on College Hill. To connect the closest College Crest trolley stop on Willamette Street to the hospital, stairs were constructed in 1910. Though both the hospital and the trolley disappeared in the mid-1920s, the stairs remain across Willamette from Civic Park.
The stairs, perhaps the last of their kind, connected to one of Eugene’s trolley routes, part of a streetcar system that was once described as the greatest for a small city in the United States. The pioneer railway is remembered for having employed Wiley Griffin (in picture above right), Oregon’s first black trolley operator.
Gwynne McLaughlin is currently spearheading an effort to paint a mural on the stairs to honor their history while preventing the graffiti that has plagued them. Grant funding has been secured and artists will soon be selected. To volunteer to prepare the surface or cheer on the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Black and White Images Property of Lane County History Museum. Used by Permission.)
(Historical information compliments of Andrew Fisher.)