With a sweep of Grand Staircase balusters in the background …

When Eastern Oregon University (then Eastern Oregon Normal School) officially opened its doors in June 1929, 200 men and women signed up for classes.  In the process they no doubt spent some time pouring over the 1929 – 30 EONS catalog.


In the page from the catalog shown above (image courtesy of EOU Pierce Library) English professors Amanda Zabel and Lena Foley stand in front of a sweep of Grand Staircase balusters.

Note: Eastern Oregon University’s Zabel Hall, home to the College of Education and the College of Business (built in 1974), was named for Professor Zabel.  Dr. Zabel, who taught both English and Drama, was a beloved teacher and an active participant in the annual Evensong production on the staircase each spring.

Fall classes at EOU begin in just a week and a half (September 26th).  Everyone have a great term!

Baluster smallBaluster smallBaluster small

The Grand Staircase at Eastern Oregon University was designed by Oregon architect John Bennes and completed in 1929.  Sadly, it has deteriorated over the decades and was closed to public use in 2004.

The staircase is currently included on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.  In November of 2015 it was determined that the staircase was too far deteriorated for restoration to be a viable option, however efforts are underway to fund reconstruction.

We believe that the Grand Staircase has great potential as a cultural heritage tourism attraction and, as a result, could help boost the economy of La Grande and eastern Oregon.  Even now, deteriorating and no longer opened to the public, it is an architectural treasure worth seeing.  Reconstructed it could offer even more.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page to raise awareness of the Grand Staircase and its architectural significance, post photographs and information of historical interest about the staircase, provide updates on the efforts to save our beloved “college steps” and share the stories and memories of those who love the staircase as much as we do.

To see a pictorial history of the staircase please visit our About page.

If you have any questions or have Grand Staircase memories, stories, or photos you would like to share please contact us at savethegrandstaircase@gmail.com.


A child dreams about attending Eastern Oregon University…

Every time someone “likes” our Facebook page a child dreams about attending Eastern Oregon University…

Dreaming of EOU

And, do you blame them?  Not only does EOU have a GRAND STAIRCASE, they also just recently launched a pretty amazing new initiative called the Eastern Oregon University Advantage.

EOU advantage

This program is intended to provide students with stable, fixed tuition, guaranteed four-year graduation, and career placement assistance upon graduation.

Any new student from Oregon, Idaho, or Washington who applies as a freshman and enrolls on EOU’s main La Grande campus for fall 2015 is eligible to participate. You can read more by visiting eou.edu/advantage, or by calling the Admissions Office at 800-452-8639.

If you would like to help send a student to EOU you can donate to fund student scholarships through the EOU Foundation here.  And, while you’re at it consider giving a little more to help save and restore the Grand Staircase. The link is the same, just designate that portion of your donation for “Grand Staircase Restoration Fund”.