Crown Point is located about 24 miles east of Portland on a promontory rising nearly vertically about 725 feet above the Columbia River. It provides a "strategic vantage point for observing a classic illustration of riverine processes."
Edgar Lazarus (1868-1939) designed Vista House at Crown Point as an example of modern German architecture, or the German equivalent of Art Nouveau. It was described by Lazarus as "a temple to the natural beauty of the Gorge." Native Italian craftsman who built retaining walls and bridges for the Historic Columbia River Highway laid its foundations without the use of cement or mortar.
Built in 1917 under the directions of a Multnomah County road master, John B. Yeon, the two-story structure has a 64 feet in diameter substructure, 44 feet in diameter upper structure and 55 feet in height. The exterior is light gray sandstone. The roof, which for many years was topped with a copper crown, has been restored to its original surface of matte-glazed green tiles.
Rare Tokeen Alaskan marble was used to surface the interior floors and stairs in the rotunda and as wainscoting on the basement walls. The inside of the dome and its supporting ribs were painted to simulate the marble and bronze. Attached to the wall just below the dome, eight busts of four unidentified American Indians were aligned so that each mirrors its own likeness. Lancaster furnished plans for other interior decorations, but they were never completed. The main level windows of the rotunda, which for many years had been clear glass without bars, have been restored to their original barred, opaque stained glass.
Samuel Lancaster (1864-1941) was the Chief Engineer for the Scenic Columbia River Highway 1913-1915. He was the pioneer builder of hard-surface roads. His genius overcame tremendous obstacles extending and replacing the early trail though the Columbia River Gorge with a highway. "On starting the surveys, our first business was to find the beauty spots, or those points where the most beautiful things along the line might be seen in the best advantage, and if possible to locate the road in such a way as to reach them." - Samuel Lancaster HCRH Engineer.
Details for Benchmark: RD2204 Described by Coast and Geodetic Survey 1941 (LAM) Station recovered in good condition. This checked intersection station is center of dome of Vista House, prominent masonry structure on summit of well-known rock cliff above S bank of Columbia River. Top of dome has approximate 750 feet. Columbia River Highway (U.S. 30) encircles Vista House, which is at highway mileage 23.8 E of Portland.
Instructions for logging waymark: visit Vista House. Log your impressions. A photograph is required of Vista House with you and/or your GPSr in the picture.