La Grande Normal School, Union County, Oregon
Thus there passed from the Grande Ronde Valley its first school of higher education, and not until 1929, when the Eastern Oregon Normal School opened its doors in regular session was there again a college in the area This latter institution now known as Eastern Oregon College of Education has grown under the leadership of Presidents Harvey B. Inlow (deceased) 1920-1937. C A. Howard. 1937-1939, and Roben J. Maaske 1939- The College at present occupies a beautiful campus area of some 50 acres near the old town of La Grande. Six classroom buildings and dormitories comprise the physical plant of the college. With a faculty of about 40 and a student population of nearly 700, it offers training in merchandising, radio-electric service and management, medical and dental assistanceship, pre-nursing, and secretarial science as well as the regular junior college and teacher 1 training curricula.
The Catholic Church also sponsored a private school in La Grande known as the Sacred Heart Academy. This school was in operation from 1894 till 1930, and at the time of its discontinuance had 100 students in the grade school, 40 in high school and about 150 special students in music and art. It operated as a boarding and day school for boys and girls, boys bring admitted only if they were under 14 years of age.
The Sacred Heart Academy building was located on the grounds now occupied by St Joseph Hospital in Le Grande. The school building was destroyed by fire in 1932.
The earliest newspapers in La Grande were the Grande Ronde Sentinel, a Democratic sheet and the Blue Mountain Times, of Republican leanings. These papers both began publication on the same day 18 April 1868. The print shop in which they were published was on the lower floor of the building which housed the Court House, the affairs of the county being carried on in the upper story.
The Blue Mountain Times was discontinued early in 1869 and the Sentinel was transferred to Union in 1874 when the county seat was moved to that town. Thereafter for about four years La Grande was without a newspaper, until the La Grande Gazette began publication in 1877. This paper was Republican in sympathy and was edited by Micajah Baker an early attorney of prominence in the town. Mr. Baker, incidentally, was extremely fond of sweets and the story is related that he paid one dollar apiece for the first sweet potatoes brought into the Grande Ronde, rather a high price to pay to satisfy his desire far the delicacy. On occasions when his legal duties prevented Mr. Baker from attending to the paper Reverend H. K. Hines, an early circuit rider of the Methodist Church and a leader in founding the Blue Mountain University, took over the editorial chores. Both Mr. Hines and Mr. Baker operated the newspaper practically without remuneration as they felt the community should have a newspaper. The Gazette was published under various until the late 90’s. The present daily newspaper, the La Grande Evening Observer, had its genesis in the old Gazette and in a newspaper of Populist leanings, the Eastern Oregon observer, which began publication in 1890.
In total, there have been about 20 newspapers published in La Grande, some existing but for very short periods. Among them were the Argos, a weekly, published from 1884 to 1886, the Journal, published weekly in 1886 for a brief time, the Daily Journal, a daily published for 72 issues in 1889 and 1890, the Grande Ronde Post, published in 1890, the Grande Ronde Chronicle, published 1890 to 1894. The La Grande Chronicle, issued from 1894 to 1907. The La Grande Messenger, published in 1911, and the La Grande Morning Star, issued from 1907 to 1911, were both absorbed by the La Grande Evening Observer in 1911. The Eastern Oregon Review, the present weekly, was founded in 1932.
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