On the first step…

Did you know that there is a National Geodetic Survey benchmark on the Grand Staircase?

The long horizontal line with short vertical line indicates it is a vertical control point.  These mark a very precise elevation above sea level.  However, for some unknown reason, the elevation which you would normally find inscribed between “ELEV” and “FEET”, is missing on the staircase marker.

We still think it’s very cool.

And, for those of you into geocaching, you’re welcome. 🙂

The 1951 National Geodetic Survey describes the marker as being “at the north entrance of the main building of the Eastern Oregon College of Education, and set in the northwest corner of the first step of the most westerly of two stair ways…”

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 savethegrandstaircase@gmail.com.




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