We love growth charts – giraffes or giant rulers or brontosauruses or simply marks and dates on a wall showing the passing of the years and the growth and development of the people we love.
Recently, while perusing archival photos of the Grand Staircase, we found it interesting to “chart” the growth of the arborvitaes that were planted in front of the Grand Staircase as a part of the original landscaping. In the photos below, you can use the horizontal sections on the face of the staircase as a “growth chart” of sorts to measure their progression over the decades.
Did you know? In the book Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom American Plants (1640-1940) by Denise Wiles Adams, arborvitaes rank fourth on the list of plants most frequently offered in trade catalogs and advertisements during the 300 year timeframe Adams studied.
Did you know? The name arborvitae comes from the Latin “tree of life”, named so either because early voyageurs made a tea from the foliage which was high in vitamin C and prevented scurvy or because of the 200-300 life expectancy of the trees.
The arborvitaes may or may not always remain a part of the landscaping around the Grand Staircase, but they will remain an important part of its history and one of our fond memories.
All black and white photos in this post are courtesy of the EOU Pierce Library.
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 November of 2014 it was chosen for inclusion on Restore Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.
We started this blog and the accompanying Facebook page that same month. Our intent is to raise awareness of the Grand Staircase and its architectural significance, post photographs and information of historical interest about the staircase, 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.