It’s easy to imagine a restored Grand Staircase as the Astoria Column of Eastern Oregon. We’re envisioning an Oregon Wide, Oregon Tall tourism campaign!
Over the years, the Column has become an Oregon icon. The Grand Staircase could easily become one too!
According to the Astoria Column website “While the city of Astoria is home to approximately 10,000 people, it’s estimated that 400,000 more visit the Astoria Column each year. ” Coincidentally, the population of La Grande is not all that many more (about 13,000.)
And, the Oregon Encyclopedia describes the Column as not just a tourist attraction and scenic vantage point, but also a work of art. We’re confident that the same thing would be able to be said about a restored Grand Staircase!
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.
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, eastern Oregon, and Oregon as a whole. 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.