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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

The LaGrande Observer is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

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Was the old public library built at the site of a jail?

The library building, which opened in 1914 at 1006 Penn Ave., was constructed at the site of an old city jail, according to the book “A Little Bit of This and Little Bit of That: La Grande and Union County Trivia, Vol. II,” by Robert Bull of La Grande.

The jail was a log structure which apparently had been closed for years when the library opened. The former library building today, is an art and culture center named the Art Center at the Old Library.

The brick structure housed La Grande’s public library through 2006. The library was moved to its present site at 2006 Fourth Street in September of 2006. It is now known as Cook Memorial Library. 


Was Morgan Lake ever stocked with bullfrogs?

We know that Morgan Lake was stocked with bullfrogs at least once — the morning of Aug. 10,1934. 

The Oregon State Police released 1,000 eastern bullfrogs into Morgan Lake that morning, according to a story in the Aug. 10, 1934, edition of The Observer. 

The bullfrogs were released as tadpoles and had been transported to La Grande from Western Oregon. 

The Observer reported that anglers would later be able to catch the bullfrogs with fishing tackle. 

It was recommended that they place red flannel over a large hook to land the bullfrogs.

A total of 11,000 bass, crappie and catfish were also released at Morgan Lake by the state on Aug. 10, 1934. Perch were the only fish found in the lake at the time it was stocked. 

What was Starkey originally named?

Starkey was first known as Ensign in honor of Frank Ensign, the leader of one of the first wagon trains to go through the Blue Mountains over the Dealy Road, according to a story in the Feb. 24, 1961, edition of The Observer. 

The small town was later renamed Starkey after John Starkey, the community’s first postmaster, who settled there in the 1870s. Starkey had a post office from Dec. 10, 1879, until early 1935, according to the book “Oregon Geographic Names,” by Lewis A. McArthur and Lewis L. McArthur.

Contact Dick Mason at 541-786-5386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Dick on Twitter


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