Calling all Eastern Oregon tree lovers

James and Elizabeth Baker were among the first Oregon Trail emigrants to settle in Eastern Oregon. They traveled from Iowa in 1862 and were one of the original five families to settle in what is now the City of La Grande.

La Grande was a treeless prairie when they arrived. James Baker was known as a horticulturist and planted many of the first trees in the community. Elizabeth Baker loved the locust trees he planted near their home. When she died in 1883, he planted this black locust near her grave.

Well into his 80s, James was seen carrying two pails of water up the hill to Elizabeth's grave site to water the tree. As La Grande grew, the remains of Elizabeth Baker were moved to a new cemetery but the locust tree remains.

Tree Facts

Approximate height: 60 feet

Circumference: 57 inches (below the forks at two feet)

Crown: 43 feet

Planted in: 1883

Dedicated on: April 4, 2002

Visit the tree

This tree is located on the campus of Eastern Oregon University on the NE side of Hill Ave across from the northernmost corner of Hunt Hall.

Add to the Discussion (3)


8 years ago

We love our beautiful Oregon heritage trees, Maddie--thanks for posting this gorgeous one in historic La Grand! :)


8 years ago

You betcha Rick... it's interesting, because we are always looking for more historically significant trees in Eastern Oregon. Obviously the terrain has a little something to do with a shortage of trees, but we know there are more out there that can pass the program criteria to be awarded state heritage tree designation. If anyone has an idea about a tree that might fit the bill, they can connect to our website and read what the nomination process is all about. Here's the link to that page:


8 years ago

Good to know, Maddie--thanks for asking and we'll keep our eyes peeled! :)

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