Vista House – Aurelia Schanzenbacher Sisters Fine Arts – Canvas
Digital Artistry from photo of the Vista House. Vista House is a museum at Crown Point in Multnomah County, Oregon, that also serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers and as a comfort station for travelers on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The site, situated on a rocky promontory, is 733 feet (223 m) above the Columbia River on the south side of the Columbia River Gorge. The octagonal stone building was designed by Edgar M. Lazarus in the style of Art Nouveau, and completed in 1918 after nearly two years of construction.
Samuel Lancaster, Assistant Highway Engineer for Multnomah County in 1913, supervised the Columbia River Highway project. Lancaster’s proposal to construct a building on the summit of Crown Point was another reflection of his desire to inspire the traveler along the highway and to make the wonders of the gorge accessible.
As Lancaster described it, the Crown Point promontory was the ideal site for “an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite.” Such an observatory would also be a fitting memorial to “the trials and hardships of those who had come into the Oregon country.” And it could “serve as a comfort station for the tourist and the travelers of America’s greatest highway.” He suggested it be known as the Vista House.
Majestic! It’s the only word to describe Crown Point capped by its venerable Vista House.
Since 1918, this regal sight has enthralled millions of travelers. From its surrounding vantage point 733 feet above the Columbia River and overlooking the busy I-84, countless sightseers and photographers have enjoyed a step back in time and one of Oregon’s most inspiring views.