The Grand Staircase is located on the Eastern Oregon University campus in La Grande, Oregon and could easily be called an architectural treasure.

balusters and balustrades 2 It is a five tiered concrete structure of ornamental balustrades and balusters built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

Staircase construction The Grand Staircase was designed by John Bennes and completed in 1929.

Served the campus For decades it served the campus…

and the community …and the community.

harsh winters Over time, ground movement, harsh La Grande winters, and funding challenges started to take their toll on the structure.

1979 photo This photo was taken in 1979, the same year the staircase was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Staircase profile pic In 2004, the Grand Staircase was closed to public use.

significant repair Its condition continues to deteriorate.

or reconstruction In November of 2015 it was determined that the staircase was too far deteriorated for restoration to be a viable option,

continues to deteriorate …however efforts are underway to fund reconstruction.

In November of 2014, the Grand Staircase was chosen for inclusion on Oregon’s Most Endangered Places List.


8 thoughts on “About

  1. breezing thru pages with my great grandfather’s name on them

    JH Ackerman was my father’s maternal grandfather.

    Im interested in what is the status of your efforts


    • Hi Fred, It is so nice to hear from you. Ackerman Elementary School holds a very special place in the hearts of many. The efforts to save and restore the Grand Staircase are in the planning stage. Costs of restoration have been estimated at around two million dollars. As it is hoped that almost all of the funding can/will be accomplished through grants, we first need to determine how best a restored staircase could serve the university and community.

  2. The other day going through memory boxes I found the picture from the LaGrande paper of the graduating class of 1971 from Eastern Oregon College standing on the staircase. I am standing in the middle at the top of the stairs. Many years later when my daughter was having senior pictures taken I was insistent that we travel to LaGrande so some pictures could ve taken on those same stairs. It had been years since I had seen them and was saddened by the state they were in. Loved those stairs and would be proud to support the restoration of them.

    • We are so glad you found us and thank you for sharing your story. Would you be willing to share the picture from 1971 and later pictures of your daughter on the staircase? With your permission, we would love to post them on this blog and on our FB page. If so, you can send them to savethegrandstaircase@gmail.com. Our fingers our crossed that funds will be made available for restoration.

  3. I just received my “Mountaineer” and the Grand Staircase story brought me back to one of the memories of my father, Floyd Kingsley. He was a native of LaGrande so of course attended Ackerman Elementary School and graduated, the then Eastern Oregon College (EOC) — I remember the Evensong picture of his graduating class on the Grand Staircase. I also still remember the story my grandparents would tell about the city being ‘mad’ the college built that amazing staircase, but ‘turned its back’ on the city by orientating the administration building with the back facing the city (and the Grand Staircase). When I attended EOU ‘72-‘74 (I very later graduated ‘87-‘89), I was employed by the groundskeepers for the campus and one of my duties was to clean and groom the Grand Staircase. I can say I literally know every inch of the structure!! Thank you for all your efforts to restore her back to her glory days.
    Sincerely, Julia Barklow

    • Hi Julia, Thanks for your comment. What an interesting story from your grandparents! And, what a meditative and wonderful job cleaning and grooming the Grand Staircase must have been!

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