This retaining wall and stairs are one of the distinctive features of Walnut Avenue. The Pratchner family lived at the top of these stairs and George Pratchner built the wall. His construction company was awarded a job in 1893 to grade this curve at Walnut Avenue, and build the retaining wall that remains today. He also built the original stair at the end of Cliff street on Beach Hill, and many other stone structures that still remain in Santa Cruz.
From the landing, there is a nice view of downtown Santa Cruz. You can see the many redwood trees which were planted downtown more than 100 years ago. There is a particularly large one at the corner of Walnut and Rincon near the bottom of the hill.
At the bottom of the stairs and up the hill is Santa Cruz High School. There are a few stairways between the school buildings on the hill and the flats below, but they are now closed to the public.
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This piece is part of the Mission Hill Staircase Tour made possible by local history researcher Linda Rosewood. Download the free app with many tours of the Santa Cruz area and beyond.
- Work Starts on Newest of Apartments; Ground Broken for Mrs. Peter’s New Plant on Mission Hill,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 1, 1937.
- New Peters Apartments are Formally Opened. Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 19, 1937.