Just before Christmas some of you may have seen this short article in the La Grande The Observer.
At least some of the work had already been done when we posted this “frosting on the Grand Staircase” photo on Facebook on December 14.
Now, compare the photo above to the one below that we shared in October (just after the removal of the arborvitae in front).
You can see that the upper tiers are now fully visible and, for the first time in years and years, you can see the entire staircase. When the whole structure is visible, the beauty is amplified. We love the progress that is being made in showcasing the beauty of this architectural treasure.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.