Mystery stairs to nowhere once served a practical purpose

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a mysterious staircase that sits on a city curb leading to nowhere. After some digging, KRQE News 13 found out it’s more than 100 years old, and there’s a reason it’s still there.

If you’ve ever passed the mysterious stairs along Marquette near 12th Street, the sight of them may have left you scratching your head. They quite simply lead to nothing.

“It kind of looks like a bench…but it’s too low to sit on,” said Brittany Santistevan.

People who KRQE News 13 spoke with had some ideas of their own.

“Skateboarding… obviously,” said Michael Garcia.

But the real reason served a rather practical purpose.

“They were a carriage stoop so that when the carriage pulled up it was a way to get into the carriage,” said Bob Yuhas.

Yuhas now lives in the home directly in front of the steps. He said they are tied to his property at 215 12th Street, which is on both the state and national registers of historic places.

“This house is a Queen Anne style, built in 1883,” Yuhas said.

It’s called the J.H. Coon’s House and was one of the first homes built in Albuquerque after the arrival of the railroad.

“Some of the early pictures I have looking across the street from the home show a lot of sheep grazing in the field,” said Yuhas.

In the ’70s, well-known architect George Pearl bought the home and made some additions, but preserved as much as he could.

“That was the reason why I bought it, was because I liked the inside,” Yuhas said.

While the stairs to nowhere serve no purpose in modern times, there are no plans to get rid of them any time soon.

“As like an architectural structure, that’s kind of cool that they’re still around,” said Garcia.

With historic properties, people have to jump through a lot of hoops to make any changes. Since the steps aren’t obstructing the sidewalk, the owner says he has no reason to remove them.

The city said there are a few other carriage stoops left in the city, but it’s not clear where they are.

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