CROWN POINT STATE SCENIC CORRIDOR
Millions of visitors driving from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge don't realize the full impact of its beauty until they come around the bend near Corbett at exit 22 and see the famous building on the top of the cliff to the right. This is Crown Point and the building is the Vista House.
Just as the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom, the Vista House serves as the symbol of the Columbia River Gorge. In fact, the architect of the Vista House -- Edgar Lazarus -- and Emma Lazarus (who wrote the poem of the Statue of Liberty), were brother and sister.
The Vista House was built in 1916 at the same time as Highway 30 (what is now the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, and the only way to reach Crown Point). The building was designed to be a place of refreshment and enjoyment of the Columbia Gorge. The popular clifftop viewpoint recently has undergone a $3.2 million restoration to repair and rejuvenate the building's key historic features.
The octagonal building with its copper dome houses a museum, gift shop and interpretive display of historic and geologic points of interest in the Gorge (the building is open from March-October).
Located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, this iconic landmark of Oregon was established as a state park in 1938. The area is renowned for its panoramic views and historical significance.
The history of the site dates back to early exploration by Lewis and Clark during their expedition across America between 1804-06. They named it "Thor's Heights" due to its commanding view over the river gorge below.
In later years, Samuel Hill - an entrepreneur with interests in transportation infrastructure - saw potential for tourism development at Thor's Heights. He commissioned architect Edgar M Lazarus to design Vista House; an observatory that would also serve as a memorial honoring pioneers who traveled along Oregon Trail.
Construction began on Vista House in 1916 but faced numerous challenges including harsh weather conditions which delayed completion until May 5th,1922 when it officially opened up public access offering breathtaking vistas from atop what had been renamed Crown Point by then.
During Great Depression era (late '30s), Works Progress Administration worked extensively throughout region improving roads & facilities making them more accessible thus increasing popularity among tourists visiting these scenic spots like our subject here too!