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Micheltorena Stairs Painted Over

Updated: May 31, 2022

Photo: Barry Lank/The Eastsider

The historic Micheltorena Stairs — which were illegally painted with hearts and rainbow colors in 2015 — have been “greywashed.” While portions of the 2015 mural, which was retroactively approved by the Cultural Affairs Commission in 2019, are visible beneath the recently added paint, the stairs now appear much as they did when originally installed. Painting of stairways has been controversial, and preservation advocates argue in favor of keeping the original stairways intact.

There are 40 public stairways in Silver Lake. Today they are popular with hikers and sightseers, but many were originally used by residents to walk from their home in the hills to trolley routes on main streets. In the 1920s the population of Los Angeles doubled and a large network of pedestrian-only streets (think public stairways, stair streets, and walk streets) were constructed to facilitate foot traffic, especially in hilly neighborhoods.

Read the article by Eric Brightwell exploring the rise of LA's Stairways here.


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