Astoria Column Depicts Pacific Northwest History

The Astoria Column overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River from its vantage point on Coxcomb Hill, Oregon’s highest hill, in Astoria, Oregon. 

The 125 foot high tower was built in 1926, at a cost of a little over twenty seven thousand dollars, with funding from Vincent Astor (great grandson of John Jacob Astor for whom the city was named) and the Great Northern Railroad.

The monument has 14 pictorial scenes reflecting, in chronological order, the history of the Pacific Northwest Coast:  the arrival of the European settlers, the westward expansion, and the development of a continental nation.  The earliest scenes are at the base of the column and progress upward.

The location on Coxcomb Hill is the site of the first permanent American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.  Although the site itself boasts spectacular views, even more spectacular are the views from the observation deck at the top of monument, reached by climbing 164 steps up an internal spiral staircase.  From the viewing platform you can see not only the mouth of the Columbia River, but also the Astoria Bridge, Young’s Bay, the shoreline of Washington State, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Saddle Mountain, and the Pacific Ocean.

The Astoria Column is both an impressive piece of architecture and history, and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. 

The Column is open dawn to dusk.  A $1 per car donation is requested.  It’s worth every penny!

Astoria is about 75 miles from Portland Oregon, and just slightly less from Vancouver, Washington.  It’s a pleasant, scenic drive.

Photo credit:  wikipedia


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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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