Happy Halloween…

With Halloween almost here, it occurred to us that in its heyday the Grand Staircase was no doubt the scene of some October 31 tomfoolery.  Hopefully, if there were any pranks, they were just harmless fun (unlike the vandalism that has, on occasion, plagued the structure since its closure).

Rumor even has it that one year a VW Bug mysteriously appeared on one of the staircase landings (although we don’t know if said incident occurred at Halloween or at some other time of year).

We searched in vain for pictorial evidence of this event.  Although we couldn’t find any, we did come across these 1960 photos (courtesy of EOU Pierce Library) of a VW Bug in Inlow Hall!

VW Inlow

VW Inlow 2

Was this the same Bug that supposedly made its way up (or down) the college steps?  Do you have additional details about the staircase occurrence?  Better yet, do you have a picture?  We’d love to hear from you!

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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.

In November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month.  Our intent is 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.

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We love growth charts…

We love growth charts – giraffes or giant rulers or brontosauruses or simply marks and dates on a wall showing the passing of the years and the growth and development of the people we love.

Recently, while perusing archival photos of the Grand Staircase, we found it interesting to “chart” the growth of the arborvitaes that were planted in front of the Grand Staircase as a part of the original landscaping.  In the photos below, you can use the horizontal sections on the face of the staircase as a “growth chart” of sorts to measure their progression over the decades.

1934

1934

 

1935

1935

 

1936

1936

 

Did you know? In the book Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom American Plants (1640-1940) by Denise Wiles Adams, arborvitaes rank fourth on the  list of plants most frequently offered in trade catalogs and advertisements during the 300 year timeframe Adams studied.

 

1942

1942

 

1944

1944

 

1956

1956

 

Did you know? The name arborvitae comes from the Latin “tree of life”, named so either because early voyageurs made a tea from the foliage which was high in vitamin C and prevented scurvy or because of the 200-300 life expectancy of the trees.

 

1960

1960

 

1962

1962

 

1966

1966 and a haircut?

 

May 2015

May 2015

 

The arborvitaes may or may not always remain a part of the landscaping around the Grand Staircase, but they will remain an important part of its history and one of our fond memories.

All black and white photos in this post are courtesy of the EOU Pierce Library.

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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.

In November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month.  Our intent is 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.

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Homecoming!!!

It’s Homecoming weekend at Eastern Oregon University!  Go Mountaineers!

Mountaineers

In previous posts we’ve written about how the Grand Staircase (when it was open) made a great background for university event photographs.  You can read those posts here and here.

It seems that Homecoming was no exception.

1949 Homecoming

1949 Homecoming Royalty Princess Marian Mawhin, Enterprise – Queen Rosalie Wilson, La Grande – Princess Mardi Sallee, Nyssa – Photo courtesy of EOU Pierce Library

 

1951 Homecoming

1951 Homecoming Queen Candidates: Janet Van Winkle, Margaret Greene, Shirley Van Horne, Kathleen O’Keeffe, Merlene Baldwin – Photo courtesy of EOU Pierce Library

 

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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.

In November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month.  Our intent is 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.

 

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Something special and majestic…

A lovely letter, no other introduction necessary…

Pen and ink

September 2, 2015

My experience with EOU started a generation before my birth. My aunt, Sal Conaway, attended this building with the Grand Staircase when it was a “Normal School.” The name of the institution has changed over the years, but the monumentality and dignity of that staircase and those buildings have kept it in our memories as something special and majestic.

Since I was a very, very young child, my father, Tom Roper, was busy working his way through various positions of employment at Eastern University. A few special times I was allowed to accompany him to work. That staircase and the grand entrance to the Administration Bldg. gave me a feeling that I was so fortunate to have a small place in the history of that College. I would sing at the top of my lungs from those stair landings and those grand entrance raised sides. My imagined long dress would flow down the steps as I danced and twirled. I was so proud of my father working there.

I briefly attended classes at EOU after graduating LHS, then again when I worked as Custodian for Dorian Hall in the ’80s. I ended up following my second husband reluctantly to graduate with my BS in Public Relations/Business 1994. That second husband, a foreign student, also attended EOU for a couple of years. Tt was there he first knew life in a free country. His apartment was located below the University, so he often walked the steps, and we would meet there at times while we were courting. Good memories.

Each time I moved away from La Grande, I would go in the late evening, when it was quiet, and walk the Grand Staircase; sitting in the moon light and feeling the breeze as I looked out at “my” town. I wish I still had the photos my father took of me on the staircase. Those memories bring back feelings of pride and a surety of my freedom to choose my education and vocation in America.

Thank you for your efforts to preserve our memories.

Linda S Roper

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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.

In November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month.  Our intent is 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.

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It was only a matter of time…

With the propensity of gnomes to show up in unexpected and interesting places (either on their own or through acts of mischief) it was only a matter of time before one made an appearance on the Grand Staircase.

Gnome staircase

In fact, it happened in mid-September.  The particular fellow shown in the photo above is a “model” of the 10-foot Cedar Hills, Oregon gnome who was recently in the news, has become so famous that he has his own Instagram account, and is quite possibly the tallest gnome in Oregon.

Apparently the smaller version hitch hiked to La Grande from Portland, traveling with Gregg Sanders and Carin Carlson from Hennebery Eddy Architects when they were here a couple of weeks ago to assess the condition of the staircase.  Gregg was lucky enough to catch the intrepid gnome when it was out and about and snap the photo.

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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.

In November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.

We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month.  Our intent is 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.

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