I went to a garden party…

In our last post we wrote about our belief 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 closed to public use, it is an architectural treasure worth seeing.  Reconstructed it could offer even more.

In fact, we spend a lot of time dreaming about what could happen with a reconstructed and reopened Grand Staircase.  So, when the photo below showed up in our inbox we found ourselves imagining a community garden show and plant sale held right on the steps!

Staircase flowers

Just picture it…

  • baskets and pots of colorful, frequent flowers up and down the steps
  • spectacular hanging baskets cascading from the balusters
  • overflowing flower carts arranged on the landings
  • trees, shrubs and plants galore filling the View Terrace
  • an opportunity for people to shop, visit and delight in the view

~ a perfect summer’s day!

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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 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, 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.