Lighting the way…

Although this blog is predominantly about the Grand Staircase itself, we would be remiss if we didn’t write at least one post about the six lampposts that flank the steps, three on each side (top, mid-hillside, and bottom).  They are very much a part of the staircase experience and a reconstruction project would include their restoration.


1968 – at the top of the staircase (photo EOU Pierce Library)


After 2007 – at the bottom (photo Mapio)

When Eastern Oregon Normal School (now EOU) opened its doors in 1929, the lampposts could be found throughout the campus.


1949 – in the snow on the south side of Inlow Hall (photo EOU Pierce Library)

They are cement with a cementitious parge finish coating and are topped with glass acorn globes.


1976 – close-up of the acorn globe (photo EOU Pierce Library)


2014 – next to a closed staircase (photo Gary Richard Olson)

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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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