Did we solve the mystery…?

Do you remember our post from about a year ago on the The Amazing Appearing and Disappearing Tree?

You know, the tree that wasn’t there in 1929…

tree-1

Was there in the early 30’s…

tree-2

And was gone by 1934…

tree-3

Well, we may have just solved the mystery!  We recently stumbled across a 15 Oct, 1953 Observer article entitled 25 years progress at EOC Told by Member of Original Faculty.

The faculty member was John M. Miller who was, at the time the article was written, the director of teacher education at EOU (EOC in those days).

In the interview Professor Miller recalled the first Evensong and described how faculty and students brought in greenery to enhance an otherwise rather barren landscape.

amazing-tree-observer

If the Amazing Appearing and Disappearing Tree could be considered “greenery”, that just might explain where it came from and why it didn’t stay.  It would also explain the appearance and disappearance of the smaller, but significant nonetheless, trees on the hillside on either side of the staircase.  If this is, indeed, what happened, we’re pretty impressed with the effort all of this must have taken!

What do you think?  Did we solve the mystery?

All photos in this post courtesy 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.

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.

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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.

back-to-school

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.

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Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers visit the Grand Staircase

It’s easy to imagine that decades ago children played space invaders on the Grand Staircase, armed with their Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers ray guns (some of which could also conveniently be used as flashlights).  Precursors to the laser guns of sci-fi adventures to come, these toys captured the imagination of generations.

 

Buck Rogers

How excited those children would have been if they’d known that in the not that distant future real-life lasers would actually be used on the Grand Staircase.  In fact, that will occur sometime in September when 3-D laser scanning technology will be used to document the existing staircase.

Cool.

This process creates a “point cloud” and yields a high level of accuracy.  It is a crucial step in “saving” our beloved college steps.  The information gathered will ensure that, when that day comes, the Grand Staircase can be reconstructed to exactly match the appearance of the original.

Additionally, salvaged samples of original cast stone units and materials can be used in making new molds and testing material composition to accurately match the original finishes.

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.

 

 

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