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.
Most of La Grande was treeless prairie when they arrived. James Baker was known as a horticulturalist 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. Into his 80s, he was seen carrying two pails of water up the hill to her 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.
Located near Hunt Hall at Eastern Oregon University, La Grande