Jon Burch Photography
Photograph - Digital Capture
The Astoria Column is a tower overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River on Coxcomb Hill in the city of Astoria in Oregon. Built in 1926, the concrete and steel structure is part of a 30-acre city park. The 125 foot tall column has a 164 step spiral staircase ascending to an observation deck at the top and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974.
The tower was built with financing by the Great Northern Railway and Vincent Astor, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, in commemoration of the city's role in the family's business history. Patterned after the Trajan Column in Rome, the Column was dedicated on July 22, 1926. The first Community Antenna Television (CATV) System in the United States was built in 1949 utilizing the column. The murals that make up the column were refurbished in 1995 and a granite plaza was added in 2004.
A 125 foot tall column stands atop the 600 foot tall Coxcomb Hill and includes an interior spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck at the top. The spiral sgrafitto frieze on the exterior of the structure is almost seven feet wide, and 525 feet long. Painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla, the mural shows 14 significant events in the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria's role including Captain Gray's discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Designed to resemble the Roman Trajan's Column, the Astoria Column was built of concrete and has a 12-foot deep foundation. Built at a cost of $27,133.96, the tower has 164 steps to the top, where there is a replica of the State Seal of Oregon. -Wikki
A plaque at the site commemorates the CATV system built by local resident Leroy E. "Ed" Parsons in which twin-lead transmission wires redistributed the signal of KRSC-TV (now KING-TV) in Seattle, Washington to area homes.
The cast-iron spiral staircase inside the column was closed for safety reasons in November 2007. It was reopened to the public in time for the Regatta in August 2009.
Photograph copyright 2013 Jon Burch Photography
May 15th, 2013
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