In 1861, Benjamin Brown arrived as the first settler in “The Valley of Peace.” The settlement was named Brownsville, but was later changed because a town called Brownsville was previously established in Linn County. La Grande was incorporated in 1865. Gold mines created growth in this area in the late 1800s as did the railroad.
The humid continental climate in La Grande, OR results in 22 inches of snowfall and 20 inches of rain with measurable precipitation falling on 102 days each year. 87 degrees is an average high temperature in the summer, while winter lows hover in the mid-20s. The sun shines 192 days throughout the year.
Nearby activities include biking, fishing, skiing, hiking, swimming and hunting. A farmer’s market, Downtown La Grande and numerous parks are also available for leisure.
The Eastern Oregon Livestock Show is the Northwest’s oldest, continuously run rodeo. Dry powder, short lift lines and hundreds of miles of trails are offered to skiers in Eastern Oregon at destinations including Anthony Lakes Ski Resort and Meacham Divide Nordic Park. Eagle Cap Wilderness, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, Catherine Creek State Park, Hot Lake Springs and Resort, Mount Emily Recreation Area and Morgan Lake offer a glimpse of the surrounding natural beauty among numerous other parks and waters.
Annual entertainment includes Season’s Faire, Grande Tour Spring Ride, Eastern Oregon Film Festival, Crazy Days and the Union County Fair.
Government, retail trade and manufacturing are among the major industries with Boise Cascade, Nash Trailer Factory, Grande Ronde Hospital, Eastern Oregon University and Union Pacific Railroad being major employers.
EOU is a state-funded, four-year university offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The school opened its doors in La Grande as Eastern Oregon Normal School in 1929. La Grande School District operates five schools serving K-12 students in the area.
Grande Ronde Hospital offers a wide range of services and clinics. The hospital has led the region in improving the health and well-being of the more than 25,000 residents of Union County since 1907.
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