Monday, September 30, 2013

Spiral Staircase to Nowhere - California Central Coast

Just another oddity! Only this time, it's not in the desert!


Embiggen the photos as you please...
I heard that there was something odd sitting next to this cliff side restaurant. So off we went! Do you see anything?


At first, I didn't either. Wait, what is that thing next to the cliff?  No Silly! I'm not talking about the arrow, but what the arrow is pointing at. To get a better view we walked to the cliff on the other side of the restaurant.


What the heck? It looks like a spiral staircase. When I took the first photo, we were standing by the middle palm tree on that cliff over yonder.


It is indeed a spiral staircase.

Okay, I'll tell you. Many years ago there was no method to get down to the beach here, so they built this staircase. At the top (fifth floor) there was a bridge like ramp that went over to the cliff.  Pretty easy access. Some time (also many years ago) it was decided that moisture and salt air had deteriorated the structure to the point of it being unsafe. They removed the bridge portion, but for some reason (probably for me), they left the rest of it sitting there.


While I was standing here taking photos through a fence, a lady walked up with her camera. She told me that she lived very close to this thing her entire life and not only had she never seen it, she had never even heard of it. I spoke to other people about it and the result was pretty much the same. Even the guy at the local tourist bureau knew nothing about it. I'll shut up now and let you look at the photos.








I took the rest of the photos from the balcony of the restaurant. I got there via the employee entrance, but instead of entering the kitchen, I went to the balcony. One guy did come out of a side door and we stared at each other for a short time. Then he went back inside without saying a word.








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59 comments:

dennis hodgson said...

When I saw the first photo, my first thought was that the house at the top of the cliff would fall into the sea within the next decade or so. The rock looks pretty soft.

On the subject of people who live in an area not knowing what is on their doorstep, my latest post is about a church that everyone walks past without noticing its incredible architectural features.

dennis hodgson said...

When I saw the first photo, my first reaction was that the house on the clifftop will disappear into the sea within the next decade or so. The rock does look pretty soft.

By the way Pat, people who don't know what's on their doorstep is, indirectly, the subject of my latest post.

DEZMOND said...

stunning pics, Pat! Love the place, but I don't think I could ever live so close to the edge of a cliff... I'd have constant phobia :)

baygirl32 said...

Wow! I could spend hours there (just trying to climb those puppies)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Makes for a unique vantage point for photos now. Still funny it's just sitting there all by itself!

EG CameraGirl said...

I'm amazed when people live so close to something and don't know anything about it. But wait! I bet there's something in my neighbourhood that I'm equally ignorant of.

The staircase is wonderful and I love that you took so many photos of it.

TexWisGirl said...

i'd have wanted to climb it, just to stand at the top. sad that the locals don't even know about it. :)

Sylvia K said...

What a gorgeous place, Pat! And the stairway is incredible! Talk about the "stairway to heaven"!! I think you found it! Fantastic captures!! And a great start for my week!! Hope you have a good one!

Bouncin Barb said...

Your pictures are beautiful Pat. It's such a shame that no one would want to fix that up or remove it. Sad it just gets left there to slowly succumb to the elements.

Japy said...

Thanks for the explanation. Obviously it had to have a meaning. Greetings.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Once again, you have uncovered a gem. Two random observations - that's a serious spiral staircase - not something I'd expect in a residential setting. There's remnants of a foundation.

My SWAG would be a lighthouse. Amazing that locals don't have history!!

Betsy Adams said...

Very interesting, Pat. When I first saw it, I wondered where it went... I thought: Stairs to Nowhere! ha ha

SO--at one time, that was a nice way to get down to the water I guess... Interesting...

We have walked up spiral stairs like that while hiking up and down in the mountains at times.....Round-and round-and round.

Hugs,
Betsy

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Where is that staircase, Pat? It must be close to PCH, and I bet I've driven by a million times but never knew it existed either. I'm glad they salvaged it for you to photograph for us.

I'm awaiting the arrival of my copy of the Storm too.

Be well, Pat.
xoRobyn

Kay said...

I'm guessing that maybe high waves broke the rest of it off?

Pat Tillett said...

Dennis Hodgson - I thought the same thing about the building Dennis. It does look like that spot is less eroded than the surrounding cliff. So maybe it will last a little longer. Still, it's just a matter of time, right?

DEZMOND - Thanks DEZMOND! I know the feeling, but I try to ignore it and challenge myself.

baygirl32 - I know what you mean! It looks like the only way to easily get to it, is by boat.

Alex - I agree! It looks so much out of place now.

EG CameraGirl - Thanks! I'll bet there is something in your neighborhood!

TexWisGirl - I'd be right up there with you. We have a kayak, so maybe next time, I'll get closer.

Pat Tillett said...

Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! It sure is! The west coast of the U.S. has an amazing coast line.

Bouncin Barb - Thanks Barb! I agree! I assume it is owned by the city.

Japy - My pleasure Japy! I'm sure people used it a lot at one time.

Wayne - Thanks! I don't know much about it, but I do know that it was constructed only to help people get to the beach. I believe the foundation was made to keep the water off the stairs at high tide.

Betsy - Not only a nice way to get down to the water, it was also the only way! Thanks Betsy! Right back at ya!

Carol Kilgore said...

I always love your photos! I laughed about you and the guy staring at each other and neither of you saying anything. I can see that happening. Is this restaurant at or near Half Moon Bay?

M Pax said...

Like others, I assumed a house fell. Interesting story behind the stairs.

Woot for Alex!

Pat Tillett said...

Robyn - I'm sure you have driven right by it. I know I have!
Highways 1 & 101, are one and the same right there. It's next to the Ventana Grill, in the Shell Beach part of Pismo Beach.

Kay - I think it was a combination of rust and the eroding cliff.

Carol - Thanks Carol! I'd say it's at least 200 miles down the coast from Half Moon Bay. The address of that restaurant is Pismo Beach, but it's in the Shell Beach area.

M Pax - I think there might be another spiral staircase still being used in the area. I don't know if it's like this one, but I'll check it out next time we're in that area. Woot woot!

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks for the location. A friend of mine told me about some place similar at Half Moon Bay, but it's been years ago.

Brian said...

That is amazing...likely a government project! Hey, we love that author!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Maybe Mrs Winchester was there and built that staircase to nowhere..... OK OK, I did read your words, but that was my first thought.

Amazing that people who live right there didn't know anything about this neat deal ....Bill and I are so often surprised by things like that though. I guess everybody doesn't share our curiosity genes.

I also love how you just walked through the employee entrance. Act first, ask later!


Pat Tillett said...

Carol - My Pleasure! I'm going to see if I can find something on that place in Half Moon Bay.

Brian - I agree! I believe it was a local gov. project.

Sallie - That's funny! I hadn't even thought about that crazy place. I haven't been there in many years. Yep! I guess it's similar to me living just a few minutes from one of the most beautiful coastal spots in the world, yet I seldom go there.

Leovi said...

Interesantess and wonderful photos! A wonderful and lonely! Good for off!

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots of the place. The spiral staircase is interesting.

Cezar and Léia said...

wow this is an enchanting place and I love the staircase structure!You got wonderful images, well done!
Léia

Mynx said...

I might have missed it but is it possible to climb it from the bottom? It would make a great lookout if you could
That coast line is gorgeous too.
Love those cliffs

Pearl said...

What a beautiful area of the world...

And Alex is one talented SOB, isn't he? :-)

Pearl

PerthDailyPhoto said...

How absolutely amazing that the locals don't know about this oddity Pat. Still, sometimes I think there is probably such a lot I don't know about Perth yet :) that was a very bizarre discovery, even when it had the bridge crossover, its not something you'd expect oui!

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - Thanks Leovi! I appreciate it.

Rajesh - Thank you Rajesh! I agree with you about it being interesting.

Leia - Thanks Leia! It is a beautiful place.

Mynx - I suppose it is possible, but you have to take a small boat or Kayak to get there. There are many many miles of these cliffs.

Pearl - I agree with you! The west coast of the U.S. is about 1500 miles. Almost all of it is stunning. Yep, Alex is very good!

PerthDailyPhoto - I know what you mean. Even if it was new, it is still an odd thing. I'd love to get to Perth someday.

Genie Robinson said...

WOW! Another wonder of the world :-) That last shot really gives me the willies. Great photos. genie

Seriously Though said...

I noticed it right away, but couldn't tell it was a spiral staircase. You find the darndest things!

sage said...

Maybe that's a "Stairway to Heaven"

Pat Tillett said...

Genie - thanks so much Genie! Just another odd and amazing thing.

Seriously Though - It's what I do! You've got a good eye...

sage - You know, I've got the tune to that song in my head now, right?

TS Hendrik said...

When I one day build my dream house there'll be a staircase like that in the back yard. Totally awesome.

Pat Tillett said...

TS Hendrik - You better have a big back yard!

Lynda R Young said...

That's so peculiar! I'm glad you found out the history of it. Love the photos (of course). It's a gorgeous place.

Stickup Artist said...

I love that area of the coast, have driven through and stayed in the area many times, but like the others, never saw the spiral staircase to nowhere. You do have a nose for the unusual in our midst!

Pat Tillett said...

Lynda - Very peculiar! Thanks so much Lynda!

Stickup Artist - I love it also. Once of my favorite parts of the state. I wish my "nose" would have developed earlier in life! Thanks!

Baby Sister said...

Wow!! How random!! And cool!! Sadly there are a lot of places in Utah that I have never been to. I really need to get on that.

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - there is a lot to see in Utah! Tons of ghost towns also!

Stewart M said...

Thats a funny image. I wonder how many dozens of years this "unsafe" building (?) will keep standing!

Keep investigating ways to get to Australia - include Melbourne on the itinerary and we can have a beer!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

PS: sorry for slow reply - I have been out of phone / internet range for most of the week - it was strangely pleasant!

Pat Tillett said...

Stewart - I hope it's there for a long time! If I come to your great country, I would certainly put Melbourne on the itinerary. I understand, it's nice to get away from it all occasionally.

sixdegreesphotography said...

Haha!! I had to laugh at you and the stranger having a silent eye-conversation.. I knew you would win :-).. Shame they took the bridge down, the views from there must be amazing!!.. surprised you did not find a way to climb it ;-)
Lynne

Pat Tillett said...

sixdegreesphotography - It would have been pretty easy to climb it, getting to it is another story. The only way to get to it is by boat. Even at low tide, the water is too high. Next time we head that way, we're going to take our kayak. Thanks Lynne!

ladyfi said...

At first I thought it was a rope for a quick escape!

Very cool shots.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm so jealous

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm so jealous

DEZMOND said...

love the restoraunt view and the staircase, Pat, although climbing it would probably give me vertigo :)

Rosemary Nickerson said...

When I saw the first photo, I thought it looked like the restaurant is living on borrowed time. The erosion is pretty invasive there. Isn't it funny that when we travel, we see things the locals either take for granted or don't even see at all? I guess that means we don't see stuff in our own neighbourhoods either. I need new eyes!!

Pat Tillett said...

ladyfi - Well, at least you had an idea. I didn't have a clue. Thanks!

Pasadena Adjacent - Don't be jealous! All you have to do is hop in the car. If you wanted to, you could go up there and see this. Then see Spooner's Cove (the next post) that is only 20 miles from here. And then drive home. Make it a totally exhausting but enjoyable day trip. Maybe spending the night would be a good idea.

DEZMOND - I love both of them also! I'd climb it if I had the chance.

Rosemary - I agree that it looks kind of precarious, but it's been there for a quite a while. If I worked there I'd be checking out the cliff for new erosion everyday before I started my shift.

Al said...

That is wild. I love things like this - I'd want to climb it. It reminds me of the iron staircase in Yellowstone, although that actually goes somewhere.

Pat Tillett said...

Al - Me too! I live for this stuff. I haven't been to Yellowstone for decades. I think it's time to go back.

Kato Pandorah's Box said...

What an odd (but awesome!) thing to be there. You find the coolest stuff!

Olivia Mak said...

This structure is absolutely breathtaking. I hope the town leaves this standing as a reminder of its history. Spiral staircases are a so elegant and a bit mysterious. I'm currently renovating my home and thinking about building a spiral staircase that will lead to my second floor loft area. Thanks for sharing this inspiration!

Amanda Banks said...

This is where I live. For years we went there as a child. Surprisingly, there used to be a different set of stairs to get down there, and then we would climb the staircase to get to the top and look out. They have since removed the access stairs because this structure is unsafe. Total bummer. No one really seems to knows the history of it, just that it is there. Almost everyone I know at least.

Pat Tillett said...

Amanda - Thanks so much for reading this and making a comment. I'm glad it brought back some memories for you. I was surprised that so many people I spoke to, had never heard of it. It is pretty cool. It must have been great actually using it. It's a great bit of local history. If you know of any other "odd" things in that area, I'd love to know about them. Thanks again!

Andrea said...


Hi~

I have lived in Shell Beach for 25 years and either I had no clue that the staircase was there, or I'm having a premature senior moment! I've been to numerous functions at that restaurant, which is now called The Ventana Grill, and I can honestly say that I don't remember ever seeing that staircase! Wow! Was I surprised to find the pictures, and yours by the way, are very nice. Thank you for posting them! I have to go see this mysterious staircase myself!

Pat Tillett said...

Andrea - Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on this. I'm still amazed that so many folks living in your area, still don't know about it. It is a pretty cool sight, that is for sure. Strangely, I just ran across another spiral staircase (leading to nowhere) in Arizona.
Thanks again!