Home to Eastern Oregon University, a small state college, La Grande is a quiet little city of 13,000, which sits at the center of the Grand Ronde Valley. It's a convenient stop if you're heading to the Wallowa Mountains and La Grande's historic frontier character charms visitors. The city started life in the late 1800s as a farming community. It grew slowly while most towns along the Blue Mountains were booming or busting in the violent throes of gold-fueled stampedes. When the railroad companies were deciding where to lay their tracks through the valley, a clever local farmer donated 150 acres to ensure that the Iron Horse would run through La Grande. With steam power fueling a new boom, the town quickly outgrew its neighbors, took the title of county seat from fading Union City. Today the city is home to a handful of attractions and restaurants, and makes a good base for hiking and other outdoor adventures in the mountains.
When there was every reason in the world to stay away and see the ruins, one woman traveled to Greece to get to work.More