Thirty eight years ago today, the Grand Staircase, View Terrace and Inlow Hall were approved for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places!
Since Inlow and the Grand Staircase were designed as an architectural unit, they were nominated as such.
In the nomination form John W. Evans, then Director of Libraries at Eastern Oregon State College wrote “The concept of a Renaissance palace on a hill, embodying the grand stair, is one of Benne’s most satisfying designs and is particularly pleasing in its utilization of the site provided.”
You can see the full nomination here.
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 2015, the Grand Staircase was added to Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List. In November of that year 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.