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Astoria Column

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Astoria Column (bobcat)
Chief Concomly Monument (bobcat)


Dedicated in 1926, the Astoria Column is the westernmost and perhaps the most imposing of twelve monuments built under the aegis of Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railroad, between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon. The column was designed by architect Electus Litchfield and then painted by the Italian artist Attilio Pusteria, who used a technique known as sgraffito to blow colored powder onto wet plaster through holes poked in large drawings. The Euro-American history of the Columbia River mouth is portrayed on the Column, focusing on three episodes: the explorations of Robert Gray, the arrival of Lewis and Clark, and then the arrival of the ship Tonquin, used to establish an outpost of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company here.

The column is modeled after and has similar dimensions to Trajan's Column in Rome, which was erected upon commission of the Emperor Trajan after his conquest of the Dacians (in modern-day Romania) in A.D. 106.

Entry to the Column itself is free although to park here costs $5. The column is 125 feet high and the viewing platform can be reached via a narrow, spiral staircase. Views extend south down the Coast Range past Saddle Mountain and north past Cape Disappointment to Mount Olympus on a clear day.

In 1961, a descendant of Lord Astor dedicated a monument here to the local Chinook Indians in the form of a replica of Chief Concomly's burial canoe. There are restrooms and a small gift shop near the column.

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