Sitting almost 800 feet above the Columbia Gorge on a promontory called Crown Point, there is a building that is a quintessential example of Oregon and Oregonians alike – Vista House. Built in 1916 and dedicated in 1918 it was the symbol about everything associated with the building of the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway, and today marks the starting point for a gorge adventure from locals and visitors alike.
To quote from the plaque on the side of the building celebrating Samuel Lancaster, the chief engineer of the highway “A highway of poetry and drama”.
The octagonal building was designed by Edgar Lazarus in the German Art Nouveau style and contains opulent materials such as Alaskan marble, wonderful stained glass windows, mahogany and brass. It is 44 feet in diameter and 55 feet tall, although it has another level that sinks below ground at the front, although street level at the back gate.
The building is open March through October and the upper viewing gallery provides stunning views in both directions. At times the wind up here can be so strong that it is difficult to stand up straight.
I will talk about the views from Crown Point in a different blog, including pictures about how the mighty Columbia River has changed over time.
Brought to you by Brian Bailey