Scenic USA - Oregon

Crown Point Vista House

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Crown Point Vista House - Columbia River Gorge, OR

Photos by Denny Barnes
Denny Barnes Photography

     Following the Columbia River eastward from Portland, Vista House Sign - Columbia River Gorge, OR the Columbia River Highway is among the most popular scenic routes in the northwest. Recognized for its natural beauty and series of spectacular waterfalls, developers envisioned a roadway through the gorge in the early 1900s. Patterned after the great scenic roads in Europe, the Columbia Gorge route took shape between 1913 and 1922.
     Although the Columbia Gorge Highway was bypassed by Interstate 84, the two lane scenic highway is still enjoyed by millions. Driving east from Portland, one of the first official stops is Crown Point. Here, byway travelers begin to realize what this special route has to offer. Built in 1916, the Vista House was designed for travelers to stop, rest and enjoy the splendid views of the gorge and Columbia River below.
     Laid out on an octagonal footprint, the stone Vista House is covered in Crown Point Vista House - Columbia River Gorge, ORa honey, gold and green ceramic tiled roof. An extensive renovation, completed in 2005, began with the roof tiles and worked downward, repointing and replacing some of the stone in the walls. Fundraising events raised additional funds to complete the interiorís restoration. Aside from basic plumbing and electrical repairs, improvements included a custom designed lift which makes the Vista House fully handicapped accessible. Its marble stairs and floor repairs emphasized its one of a kind interior.
     Today, the Crown Point Vista House houses a museum, gift shop and both historic and geologic exhibits. Friends of Vista House offer tours and group talks on the building's architecture, local geology and area history.

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