Vista House

As many times as I visited the Portland, Oregon area I have never been to the Vista House which sits high above the Columbia Gorge only a few miles east of Portland.  Vista House was constructed in 1918 as a rest stop and viewpoint on what is now US 30 which runs along the south side of the Columbia River.

The designer of the Vista House had in mind a beautiful and ornate building which would serve as a comfortable rest stop for the tourists of the day who could afford automobiles.  His vision was that the building should have as many comforts as possible including nice restrooms and a comfortable seating area out of the weather.

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Looking east up the Columbia Gorge from Vista House.  These highway lamps are part of the original construction from 1918.

Today, Vista House is run by the Oregon State Parks and is open to the public daily.  As I had some free time today,  I decided to take the short drive up to see this architectural wonder from 100 years ago.  The building is truly magnificent, and its placement is a testimony to its original architect, Edgar M. Lazarus.  Mr. Lazarus wanted something as magnificent as the gorge itself, so he had the building constructed in an art nouveau style.  The building sits atop what is known as Crown Point, and it offers incredible views  of the Columbia River Gorge from every direction.  Crown Point is located at the top of a large basalt formation from the ancient volcanoes which covered these lands.

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Looking upward into the dome of Vista House.  Notice the art deco windows and the beautiful marble.

For the inside,  Mr. Lazarus specified fine marble from Alaska reminiscent of some of the finer buildings in Italy.  The focus of the building was to be a rest stop and offer a quiet and contemplative observation point from which to view the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.  I hope you enjoy the little photo tour of this classic piece of Oregon history.  There was a lot of haze in the gorge this morning from the humidity in the area, so I apologize for some of the pictures.

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Another view of the interior of Vista House.
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I loved the balance and symmetry of the lamps posts and the curve of the road as it winds down the hill from Vista House.
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Another view of the Columbia Gorge looking east from the House.
Columbia River westward
This view is westward toward Portland.  Across the Columbia River to the north is Washington state.
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This is further east up the Columbia Gorge toward an area known as the Dalles.
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Another view looking across the Columbia toward Washington.

Well, I hope you can visit this incredible area yourself one of these days soon.  Thanks for stopping by.