The tall column modeled after Trajan’s Column in Rome, stands on the highest hill in Astoria, Coxcomb Hill. From up here you have a nice view over the northwestern part of Oregon, stretching from Saddle Mountain to the southeast, far out to sea past the river mouth - which is still several miles northwest of Astoria. The town is laid out before you and you can watch ships pass under the Astoria-Megler Bridge on their way upriver or out to sea. The column is inscribed with different scenes that were important in the early life of the town. A circular staircase takes you up to a viewing platform atop the column for even better views, although recent renovations have presently closed the stairway for now. There is a small parking fee charged up here and while I don’t remember paying to run the stairs in the past, who knows what the future will hold.
OK, I will admit to being a bit of a ship geek, especially since I once seriously considered the US Merchant Marine Academy as a source of an undergraduate degree. Even if you are not a ship geek, this museum is an excellent stop. The sea has always played a major role in the life of Astoria and that relationship is laid bare with all of its facets here. If you only have time for one museum in the Lower Columbia region, let this be the one. Your $8 admission also gets you a ticket to board the Lightship Columbia which is moored on the river just outside. This ship served for years, marking the entrance to the Columbia River for sea-going ships. You get a good appreciation for the men who served aboard her and the lives they led when they were on duty. The big buoy in front of the ship was also a former marker for the river entrance. The local USCG Cutter Alert is docked next to the Lightship, but if the crew are running tours of her, those are free.
Astoria is one of the oldest communities in Oregon, and there are a number of houses that reflect this history. If you like exploring a community on foot, be sure to climb up the hill a little bit and from the main highway and take a look at some of these interesting old places.
The Astoria Column is an amazing work of art and history combined. Fashioned after the Trajan Column in Italy and the Vendome Column in France. The Astoria Column is 125' tall and sits on top of Coxcomb Hill which is 600' so you can imagine the views from here. There are 14 scenes on the Column which depict a historical timeline with words to describe each picture. Done by an Italian immigrant named Attilo Pusteria in an art form called Sgraffito which is done with paint and plaster carvings. There is a visitor center off to one side where you can purchase some postcards or the like and pick up some very informative brochures about the Column.
There is also a $1 parking fee that helps with the park maintenance and it is good for the whole year. The park is open dawn to dusk and the information center 9 to 6 in the summer and 10 to 3 the rest of the year.
Columbia River Maritme Museum is a definate must see if you like histoy. This museum covers everything from the ship wrecks at the barr to the seafood canneries on the piers. There is an admission fee of $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (65 +), $4 for children ages 6-17. Children 5 and under are free. There is a family pack available for $20 that includes 2 adults and 2 children. There are some really unique nautical collections inside if you are interested in that sort of thing as I am.
If you go to Astoria you need to take the time to hit the streets. We parked our car and walked all over. There are some fantastic homes in the nieghborhoods. Of the 648 Victorian era homes in the area 230 are on the National Register of Historic Places. Some have been turned into wonderful little bed and breakfast's and other are still family owned and passed from generation to generation. The townsfolk are very friendly and willing to talk of the history to the interested visitor.There is also a nice pamphlet you can pick up at the visitors center in town that lists several of the grand homes in town and how to get to them.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge connects Washington State with Oregon at the very end of a very wide Columbia River, just before it empties into the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Highway 101 crosses over the bridge here. We took a ride over, so that hubby could claim to have been in Washington State, and the view from the bridge at sunset were spectacular.
You can see the Astoria Column for miles, so it's not hard to wiggle your way up to the hill upon which it stands. Once there, you already have some great views of the surrounding Oregon and Washington countryside. Climb up the steps to the top for even better views! If you're not up to the steps, though, check out the murals depicting the history of the region which encircle the column. Other points of interest include a topographic map of the area at the base of the column, or the American Indian ceremonial canoe at the end of the parking lot, overlooking the city.
As Astoria continued to grow and new highways brought more people to the small city at the coast, the state of Oregon saw a need for a safer way to cross the dangerously wide Columbia River beyond the regular ferry service to Point Ellice, Washington.. With funding from both Oregon and Washington, construction of the 4.1 mile long Astoria-Megler bridge was begun on August 9th, 1962. Four years later, work was complete and more than 30,000 people watched its dedication on August 27th, 1966. The bridge’s main span is 1,232 feet in length, the longest “continuous truss” in the world. With the completion of the bridge, travelers could now drive the entire coastline from the Canada all the way down to Mexico, thus lending it the name "Bridge to the World". Tolls were immediately charged in order to alleviate the debt incurred in building the bridge. However, with so many people enjoying the freedom the bridge allowed, the debt was paid off a full two years earlier than original thought, and on December 24th, 1993, the toll was removed. Today, thousands of vehicles cross the "Bridge to the World" on a daily basis.
Trolley service returned to Astoria in May of 1999. Service is provided along freight tracks paralleling the Astoria Waterfront. Pay $2 and you can get on or off wherever you like all day. Each trip is narrated by a guide, pointing out historic points of interest along the route.
The trolley runs between the tracks from Portway Street on the west to East Mooring Basin, seven days a week during the summer, from 3 PM to 9 PM weekdays and from Noon 'til 9 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During the off-season, the weekday runs are eliminated and the weekend runs end at dark.
When you are a Water-Fanatic like I am you will - of course - check out the beaches!
Well -we did, although it was a very windy & cold day, but we enjoyed it tremendously!
I especially love the Haystack-Rocks strewn all over the coastline - this one is in Canon Beach!!!
You can step back in time with a visit to the elegant Astoria home built in 1885 by Captain George Flavel, Columbia River bar pilot and the area's first millionaire. A magnificent example of Queen Anne style architecture with period furnishings and artwork, the Flavel House rests on park-like grounds covering an entire city block.
This elegant Victorian mansion has been returned to its original form by experts in historic restoration. Its decorative exterior, with hipped roof, balconies and verandas, is distinguished by a fourth-story cupola used by Captain Flavel and his wife to watch river traffic.
As guests walk through the large, high-ceilinged rooms, with their elegant woodwork, they will discover furnishings, art and decor typical of a century ago. Included are fine examples of the woodworkers craft, especially the six hand-crafted fireplace mantles which are carved from different hardwoods and accented by special tile imported from Europe and Asia.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Flavel House has been operated as a museum by the Clatsop County Historical Society since 1950. During the Christmas season, a tea with traditional plum pudding is served in the dining room. Open DAILY from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Astoria Column, in a wooded park atop Astoria's highest hill, presents a spectacular view of the historic city and its surrounding rivers, bay, forest, mountains, and ocean. The Column, built in 1926, is 125 feet high and has 164 steps winding to the top. Two rivers (Columbia, & Young's) wrap around Astoria as it points westward toward the mouth of the Columbia river & the Pacific Ocean. Astoria has 3 river crossing bridges The Astoria Bridge stretches 4.1 miles across the Columbia connecting Oregon & Washington along US 101 - this bridge is of the longest bridges of its type in the world. Patterned after the Trajan Column in Rome, the Astoria Column is truly unique. It's the world's only large piece of memorial architecture made of reinforced concrete with a pictorial frieze in sgraffito technique. The column presents a fascinating illustration of the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray in 1792, the establishment of American claims to the Northwest Territory, the winning of the West and the arrival of the Great Northern Railway.
The Column was named after John Jacob Astor, a New York financer & fur trader, who had established a trade route on the West coast. This trade route would eventually lead to the establishment of Astoria. The view is breathtaking. Well worth the walk, 164 steps going round and round and round and round.
Fun for the Whole Family!
The Museum features interactive exhibits that combine history with cutting-edge technology. Visitors of all ages will experience what it is like to pilot a tugboat, participate in a Coast Guard rescue on the Columbia River Bar, and live in Astoria during the height of the salmon fishing. Huge windows make the Columbia River a living backdrop for classic fishing vessels and Coast Guard rescue craft.
Experience first hand how the Bar Pilots work the dangerous wind and waves during a fierce winter storm in the award winning orientation film The Great River of the West.
Walk on board the bridge of a WWII era US Navy Destroyer, see the world class collec-tion of maritime artifacts, and then walk out to the dock to explore the Lightship Columbia, a floating lighthouse.
I thought it was a lot of fun and I really learned a lot. Very interesting and kids will have fun too!
The Astoria column records the town's 200-year history since its days as a remote outpost on an uncharted coast. Besides beautifully depicting the progression of time, the observation deck of the monument also offers a sweeping view of Astoria and beyond. You'd have to climb 144 steps to get there, but the fresh air here will help to cleanse your lungs.
The drive to the Astoria column takes you past several interesting and beautiful Victorian houses, situated on several undulating hillsides. Astoria almost reminds you of another famous hilly town in Northern California.