When did Pioneer Park get its first tree?

By Dick Mason, The Observer June 03, 2013 10:15 am
The original tree at Pioneer Park was planted on April 8, 1940. The tree was a 4-year-old black walnut. We do not know if the tree is still standing, but it might be since black walnuts can live to be at least 200 years old. 

Pioneer Park apparently had yet to be named when its first tree was planted. The Observer, in its April 8, 1940, edition, described it only as La Grande’s new $16,500 city park at Oak and Palmer streets. 

Was La Grande High School once in the same athletic league as Cove and Imbler?


La Grande High School in the 1940s belonged to the old Grande Ronde League in baseball. LHS’s opponents in the six-team league were Cove, Imbler, Elgin, Union and Wallowa high schools. 

Who was the last surviving Civil War veteran with Union County connections?

We believe it was William Thompson. He was a member of the Union County post of the veterans organization, the Grande Army of the Republic. 

The GAR post, founded in 1890, was open only to Union Civil War veterans from Union County. 

The Union County GAR post was disbanded in 1936.

The Observer reported in its May 29, 1940, edition, that Thompson was then living in Portland and believed to be one of 15 surviving members of the GAR in Oregon. Thompson was 92 at the time. 

The Grande Army of the Republic was a national fraternal organization composed of Civil War veterans of the Union Army, the U.S.Navy and the Marines.