It’s all in the details…

We often post photos of the Grand Staircase in its entirety – pictures that show the full grandeur of this architectural treasure.

Today, however, we chose the photo below to showcase some of the staircase’s architectural detail – the gentle curve of the baluster caps, the simple, but elegant design of a pier connecting two balustrade sections, the familiar design of the balusters (beautiful in their repetition), the cast-in-place retaining wall articulated by horizontal banding, and the rise and tread of the final steps leading up to the view terrace.

Note: the same baluster design on the window balconies of Inlow Hall.

1974 photo (courtesy EOU Pierce Library) of an unidentified young woman on the 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.

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


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