Vista House at Crown Point was dedicated in 1918: “Vista House is intended to be the finishing achievement for the greatest highway in America, and will grace the highest spot on that wonderway” — Oregonian, November 14, 1915. (See my page on Historic U.S. 30)
2015: I ended up here when the colors of the sunset were being reflected in the stained glass windows, adding to the magic of this place.
View westward – Sunset is obviously a spectacular event here!
View eastward – Samuel Lancaster (Asst. Highway Engineer in 1913), proposed to “inspire the traveler along the highway and to make the wonders of the gorge accessible.” He thought “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.”
I totally agree! It really is one of the most majestic views I’ve ever been blessed to witness.
Pulling out from the parking area and looking back, I loved how it was highlighted by the sunset.
Continuing on Hwy. 30, the next lookout is called Chanticleer Point where you can see Vista House from a distant perspective.
As wonderful as the sunsets are, if you want to see the inside, you’ll have to get there before closing time at 4:00.
It’s worth two visits and the museum is interesting with its old photos and history, and on a day that’s not too windy, you can get outside to the upper observation deck.
This poster from 1915 was headed “A wide, unfettered road ahead, and the flying motor singing!” Even modern day RVers can relate to that sentiment! This is Mitchell Point Tunnel, which was demolished in 1966 during freeway construction.
The historic highway was designed “so as not to mar what God has put there.” Pedestrian arcades and stone benches were constructed where walkers could rest or view nature. There are only remains of this foot bridge near Latourell Falls.
“The state should be plastered with campsites like a Christmas package is plastered with stamps.” So said the Oregon Journal on September 26, 1920. Here’s a view of one of the first ones in the area.
“How often is the best scenery cut and gashed most horribly because either those in authority did not know, or else had no sense of appreciation?” — Oregon Journal, 1915. Thank God this reporter’s fears were not realized in this case.
2005: I set this as the starting point for our trip south down the Oregon-California coast with the Redwoods as our destination, because I just had to show this to my mom. As I knew she would be, she was in awe of this view!
Samuel Lancaster described Crown Point as 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.” And it could “serve as a comfort station for the tourist and the travellers of America’s greatest highway.” We say “You done good, Sam!”
Crown Point State Scenic Corridor (Oregon State Parks): The octagonal building with its green ceramic tile roof houses a museum, gift shop and interpretive display of historic and geologic points of interest in the Gorge.
OregonLive.com: The state park Vista House atop Crown Point (south) is one of the signature man-made features of the gorge. Perched 600 feet above the river, the house was restored in 2006.
All Malia’s Miles Columbia River Gorge pages: