Cracks and crumbles…

As much as we’d like all our posts to be sentimental and nostalgic, we, at least on occasion, also need to underscore the reality that the reason this blog exists is because the Grand Staircase is in a severely deteriorated state and its condition continues to decline.  The damage is the result of ground movement, pressure from an underground stream, and (although beautiful) harsh La Grande winters.  In addition (and sadly), acts of vandalism have taken their toll on the structure.

 In Memory of Gary Richard Olson
August 20, 1948 – March 26, 2014
The photos in this post were taken by Gary on March 25, 2014

CRACKS

Cracks

CRUMBLING

Crumbling

BROKEN…

Broken

AND MISSING PIECES

Missing pieces

 

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The Grand Staircase by any other name…

BalusterAlthough we hear the term “Grand Staircase” often enough, growing up in La Grande we simply called it “the college steps”.

BalusterA Geocaching link we found also used that term when they referenced finding the “treasure” in La Grande by the “college steps”.

BalusterA Facebook page we ran across echoed the words when the owner suggested to a group that they meet by “the college steps”.

BalusterThe many of you who have shared memories with us refer to the Grand Staircase as “the steps”, “the stairs”, and “the staircase”.

BalusterThe National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form calls it a “formal grand stair”.

The bottom line?  The Grand Staircase by any other name would be just as grand, just as magical, just as meaningful, just as significant, just as valuable, and just as much worth saving.

 

To read more about the staircase and why it needs saving go to our About page here.

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 .

 

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A backdrop of balusters…

This past week Steve Kirkeby was kind enough to share two photos on our Facebook page.

Glenn

The first, of Glenn W Kirkeby, was taken on graduation day at EOU in 1949. Pictured with him are his father George Kirkeby and brother Orrin Kirkeby.

Iris

The second, of Iris (Vogel) Kirkeby, was also taken at graduation in 1949.

What stuck us about the two photos was the backdrop of balusters in both.  The first set, of course, from the Grand Staircase, the second from the set of steps and benches to the west of Inlow Hall (as seen in the photo below).

Steps and benches

Photo 1940’s courtesy EOU Pierce Library

The repetition of balusters from the Grand Staircase to the window details on both Inlow Hall and Ackerman Hall to the benches and steps shown above illustrates the John Bennes design concept that flowed through the EOU campus.  Although the benches and steps leading up to them have since been removed, the Grand Staircase and Inlow Hall still seem to us to be inseparable components the historic value of which should be preserved.

To read more about the staircase and why it needs saving go to our About page here.

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 .

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Could the Grand Staircase be one of a kind, part two…

A few weeks ago we wrote a post asking the question “Could the Grand Staircase be one of a kind?”  And then, we couldn’t stop thinking about it.  What if our staircase does indeed stand above all other Italian Renaissance Revival style staircases in the U.S?

We have continued our research, put out a few feelers, and now have enlisted the help of some experts.  We’ve already gotten some great feedback and we’ll be writing more about this topic in the future.

In the meantime, we wanted to share something fun we ran across in our efforts.  We honestly had to look twice…

St. Martin's

This staircase, which some of us think looks like Inlow Hall and the Grand Staircase in a parallel universe, is actually located at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington.  The building at the top is the front wing of what is now called Old Main.  It was built in the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture and completed in 1913 – 16 years before Inlow Hall and the Grand Staircase at Eastern Oregon University.

According to Wikipedia, one of the school’s traditions is Graduation Walk where graduates walk down the school’s grand staircase while traditional Scottish bagpipe music plays.  Of course this, minus the bagpipes, is reminiscent of EOU’s Evensong.

Evensong 1966

Evensong 1966 – Photo courtesy of EOU Pierce Library

The staircase at St. Martin’s, which was completed in 1926, looks to be in good shape.

To read more about the staircase and why it needs saving go to our About page here.

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 .

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