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In Full View: Astoria Column
Published: 02/17/2012
 
The Astoria Column was built in 1926.
The Astoria Column was built in 1926.

The historic Astoria Column is a popular place to take in the view of where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors may feel they are on top of the world when they first take in the panoramic views from the Astoria Column. From here you can see as far as the Cascade Range to the east and follow the Columbia River from the wooded vistas of Washington to where it meets the Pacific Ocean. Your eyes can follow the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition to their encampment at Fort Clatsop in Oregon and take in the unique silhouette of Saddle Mountain further to the south. There is no other viewpoint that captures the majestic beauty of the Columbia River estuary.

Originally built in 1926, this concrete pillar rises 125 feet on top of Coxcomb Hill - the highest point in Astoria. A series of bas-relief scenes depicting the history of the region spirals up the column telling the story of the native tribes, the first European explorers, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the founding of Astoria and arrival of early pioneers in the 1830s. The column is the last of 12 monuments erected in the early 1900s by Ralph Budd, president of the Midwest-based Great Northern Railroad. The other 11 landmarks are found peppered between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon.

A popular activity at this historic hilltop landmark is to climb the 164 steps to the top of the tower and sail a balsa wood glider from its wrap-around balcony. Gliders can be purchased at the nearby gift store along with other local souvenirs. In 2004 a $2 million renovation project was completed by the Friends of Astoria Column to enhance the park-like setting surrounding the column. - By Cyndi Mudge

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