Keystone Stairs – Miami, Arizona

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While driving on U.S. 60 from Phoenix to Albuquerque last week, we passed through the old copper mining towns of Miami and Globe, Arizona. Wondering if they had stairs like Bisbee, we stopped in at the Globe-Miami visitor’s center to find out.

When I asked if there were public stairways, the people working at the center didn’t know what I was talking about. When I repeated the question, someone mentioned that there are some stairs in Miami where people have an annual stair climb. (This year’s stair climb will be on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 8:00am to Noon. For more information call Sam at 602-931-0584.) Hearing that, we were on our way to find and climb the stairs.

The stairs start at the end of Keystone Avenue in the old center of Miami and are called the Keystone Stairs. They were built to connect the town center, at the bottom of the hill, with mine shafts at the top of the hill. This was the way the miners commuted to work.

There is a picture in the Miami Town Hall, only a few feet from the stairs, which shows the stairs as being only partially built. The photo is dated between 1910 and 1920. The photo also shows that there were several foot paths on the side of the hill leading to the mine shafts. Nobody that I talked to had an exact date of construction, but the speculation was that the stairs were completed in the 1920s.

When I climbed the stairs, I counted 147 steps. I found a Facebook group on the Internet called Friends of the Keystone Stairs that says there are 155 steps. My count was interrupted several times by neighbors saying hello to me, so my count could very well be off.

Although miners no longer climb the stairs to get to work, there are still some houses on the hillside that can only be reached by the stairs. Everyone I met was very friendly. When I asked them what it was like to live on a staircase, they said they wished they had an elevator to bring up their groceries and furniture.    

I found another set of stairs, not nearly as high as the Keystone Stairs, on the other side of U.S. 60 off to the side of Adonis Street. For all I know there could be more stairs in the area, but I’ll have to find them on another trip.

Here are some of the pictures I took:

 Looking at the stairs from Keystone Avenue. The Town Hall is to my left.

One of the houses on the stairs.

 This house is reached by a path leading from the stairs.

 This is the mine shaft at the top of the hill where the miners used to go.

These wooden steps lead to two houses on the side of the hill.

 Heading back down the stairs (near the top).

After you round the turn, it’s a straight shot down to town.

Poppies along the stairs.

The stairs and mine shaft from the center of town.

As you look around Miami, you can see that the mine shafts have been replaced with large pit mines.

These are the stairs on the other side of U.S. 60 off of Adonis Street.

If you climb the Adonis stairs and follow the road at the top of the hill, you will eventually reach this walkway that will take you to the Public Library and back to Adonis Street.

13 Comments

  1. There are actually 4 sets of stairs in Miami each of them provides a way down from the hill sides 🙂 Keystone and the one on Adonis you found, but there is a set on Latham and the sixty and another set on Forrest and 60 🙂 all of them are fun and very different. Hope you come back and check them out.

    • Thank you so much for the tip. I will come back to Miami and check the stairs out. I usually go through Miami at least once a year on my way to Spring Training in Phoenix.

  2. There are several sets of stairs in the Gobe area as well. Off the top of my head I can tell you that a set is located on the south end of apache street and they lead to downtown. Another interesting foot bridge that Has stairs on either end of it ties Sutherland Street Together across a canyon. I have walked it for over 40 years. there are plenty more if you look around.

  3. My husband’s aunt lives at the top of one of the steps in Miami. His uncle would take them every day when he worked in the mines.

  4. I lived on Adonis in the 70’s when I was a teen. We often took these stairs as kids. It was quicker than the road. There was a small restaurant called Pauline’s that made the BEST Bean Burros up that hill. (in Arizona, a Burrito is called a Burro). I remember walking above the Library on that walkway. The Keystone stairs, we would play on, but I never went all the way up, altho I had a friend who lived up on that hill. How she travelled that hill every day is beyond me. Thanks for sharing these pictures!

  5. I lived in Miami in the early 60’s. Two of my children were born there and one went to elementary school just across from Hill street where we lived. I’d love to reach out to the person who owns or owned the property on Hill Street that burned down 1964. I lost something in the fire I can never replace and could never find after the fire. My husband worked on the railroad for the mine and then was the manager of the market in Claypool. I plan on coming over to visit and probably get quite a shock. After the fire we moved to Globe. i still remember the summer thunder storms. I live in Nevada but still have fond memories of both of those towns. I know now I will make the trip from Henderson to see the old towns I knew so well.
    Thank you for the pictures and memories.

    Sally

  6. I lived in Miami Arizona in 1953 to 1958. I lived with my grandmother on Keegan St.
    At the end of the street were stairs that we used to go downtown. Wonderful memories of her holding my hand as we climbed the stairs home with a package or two. When I visit Miami I always go to visit those stairs and remember our times together. Thank you
    For the pictures of a place I hold dear to my heart.

  7. One again, great finds and wonderful comments. I was at Keystone yesterday. Unfortunately part of the stairway ramp is failing and has yellow caution tape on both sides. It is uphill from Roosevelt, just after walking between the 2 houses. You could see how the slope underneath it has subsided and a crack in the pavement. I skirted though on my own but it is almost sure to cave in. And I got 155 steps too. Wonderful spot, thanks for all the good work.

  8. I was happy to read your article, came through facebook 04.21.16. Sorry to hear the Keystone stares are in need of repair again. Last time Matt Kinnegard of Boomtown spree group fixed it with voleneets. For the Boomtown spree races, the best time up the stares was 41 seconds, buy a forrest service hot shot. I have heard their are 7 community stairs in Globe, and if Bunny says their are 4 sets in Miami, that is good enough for me. Once again, thank you for your article about our town. Come back, as Frank Lloyd Wright school is her for the next 4 years as a project. Whoo Hoo!

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