The perfect backdrop…

When researching last week’s post on Evensong, we were struck with what a perfect backdrop the Grand Staircase made for photos of the Evensong courts.

There wasn’t enough room to post even some of those photos last week, but we couldn’t resist doing it this week!  Notice the comforting presence of Mt. Emily in many of the pictures.

1947 Evensong court

1947  Left to Right – Janette Frazier, Milton; Denece Decker, La Grande; Elda Mae Childers, Cove; Queen Sybil Smith, La Grande; Ida McCullough, Burns; Carol Banish, McMinnville; Sheila McCause, North Powder.  We love the spirea in full bloom in the background!

1948 Evensong Court

1948 Left to Right – Frances Wheeler, Irene Van Biveren, Queen Rhoda Challet, Dorothy Warren, Betty Gorden, and Hisako Kido

1950 Evensong Queen

1950 – Queen Hisako Kido – The gown Hisako is wearing can be seen in photos of other Evensong courts (e.g. see the 1967 photo below).  Perhaps each court had the option of wearing this “traditional” attire or dresses of their choice.

1955 Queen

1955 – Queen Virginia Cook

1957 Queen  

1957 – Queen, Roberta Miller

1958 Queen

1958 – Queen Jean Adamson – Note the smokestack in the background – most likely at the Templeton Lumber Company which would, in 1960, become Boise Cascade.  From 1925 to 1956, Templeton/Boise Cascade was the Mount Emily Lumber Company.  The 1920’s photo below (source Wikipedia) shows a similar smokestack – perhaps the same one!


1961 Court

1961 – Queen Sandra Thompson (center) with her court

1962 Queen

1962 – Queen Gail Fisher

1967 Queen

1967 – Queen Susan (Sue) Strong

1968 Queen

1968Queen Elissa Phipps Stites


Over the years the stairway served as the perfect background not only for photos of the Evensong courts, but for pictures of all kinds – class photos, graduation photos, engagement photos, prom photos, senior photos, etc.  Do you have a personal photo that was taken of you or someone in your family on the Grand Staircase?  We would love to include it in an upcoming post.  You can send it to us at  Please indicate what information about the picture you would like us to include (e.g. name/names, date, and occasion).


All Evensong Court photos in the post are courtesy of the EOU Pierce Library

To read more about the staircase and why it needs saving go to our About page here.




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