Skid row

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A skid row or skid road is a run-down or dilapidated urban area with a large, impoverished population. The term originally referred literally to a path along which workingmen skidded logs. Its current sense appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest.[1] Examples are Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington,[2] Skid Row in Los Angeles, San Francisco's Tenderloin District, and the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.



The term 'skid road' dates back to the 19th century, when it referred to a corduroy road made of logs, used to skid or drag logs through woods and bog.[1] The term was in common usage in the mid-19th century and came to refer not just to the corduroy roads themselves, but to logging camps and mills all along the Pacific Coast.[3] The source of the term as an urban-landscape reference is heavily debated, and is generally identified as originating in either Vancouver or Seattle.[1]

"Skid row" is most likely a corruption coming from areas outside of the term's region of origin, perhaps from the title of John Steinbeck's book "Cannery Row".[citation needed]


The 100-block of East Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, the heart of that city's "skid road" neighborhood, lies on a historical skid road. The Vancouver Skid Road was part of a complex of such roads in the dense forests surrounding the Hastings Mill and adjacent to the settlement of Granville, Burrard Inlet (Gastown).[4]

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