Photo by Zooey
My eldest son and I took a drive to Astoria when I was in Portland for his birthday in August. Neither of us had any idea this column was there, but we caught a glimpse of it through the trees as we were exploring the town, so we made our way there. That’s when we found out it’s called the Astoria Column, and it was built with money from the Astor family, to commemorate the town’s role in their business success.
125-foot (38 m)-tall column stands atop 600-foot (180 m)-tall Coxcomb Hill and includes an interior spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck at the top. The spiral sgrafitto frieze on the exterior of the structure is almost seven feet wide, and 525 feet (160 m) long. Painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla, the mural shows 14 significant events in the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria’s role including Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Designed to resemble the Roman Trajan’s Column, the Astoria Column was built of concrete and has a 12-foot (3.7 m) deep foundation. Built at a cost of $27,133.96, the tower has 164 steps to the top, where there is a replica of the State Seal of Oregon.
It’s pretty cool when you come across things you never knew were there, especially on such a beautiful day.
This is our daily open thread — Have you lately made any new discoveries?