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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Astoria Column, Coxcomb Hill, Astoria, Oregon"
Includes ... Astoria Column ... Coxcomb Hill ... National Register of Historic Places ... Trajan Column, Rome, Italy ...
Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon. Image taken May 25, 2004.


Astoria Column ...
The Astoria Column stands on top of Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, Oregon. It was built in 1926, stands 125 feet high, and has 164 steps spiraling to the top. There are 14 scenes and over 20 text messages depicted on the column commemorating the history of Astoria. The Astoria Column was designed by New York architect Electus D. Litchfield, decorated by Attilio Pusterla, an Italian-born artist, and financed by Vincent Astor, the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, and the Great Northern Railroad.

According to the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce website (2007):

"... Patterned after the Trajan Column in Rome, the Astoria Column is the world's only large piece of memorial architecture made of reinforced concrete with a pictorial frieze in sgraffito technique. The column artwork illustrates 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 100-foot-tall Trajan Column (see "Trajan Column" below) was erected in Rome around 114 A.D. by Emperor Trajan, and is made of marble. It is covered by a continuous low-relief sculpture depicting Trajan's Dacian campaigns. "Sgraffito technique" is a bas-relief etching in cement.

By 1995, after nearly 70 years of exposure to Pacific Coast weather and salt air, many of the pictures on the column had deteriorated and some were nearly impossible to see. The "Friends of the Astoria Column" and the community of Astoria got together to restore the landmark. Internationally renowned experts spent six months cleaning, reconstructing and restoring the images to their original luster. The restored structure was unveiled in November 1997.

The Astoria Column was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 (Structure #74001681).


Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Top of the Astoria Column. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2005, Base of Astoria Column, Coxcomb Hill, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Base of the Astoria Column. Image taken April 19, 2005.


The Scenes ...
The Astoria Column represents the history of the city of Astoria, Oregon. The text spiraling up the tower reads:

  1. Before the White Man Came
  2. Robert Gray in the Ship Columbia in the Great River of the West, May 11, 1792
  3. Gray finds an Indian Village on the Bank of the River
  4. Lt. Broughton Names Mt. Hood, Oct. 1792
  5. The Lewis and Clark Expedition Crossing the Mountains
  6. Indians Greet the Explorers
  7. Lewis and Clark Reach the Pacific
  8. They Obtain Salt by Boiling Sea Water
  9. Fort Clatsop Established December 1805
  10. Fort Clatsop is Completed
  11. Indian Fishing and Boat Building Industry
  12. Astor Overland Party Leaving St. Louis
  13. Tonquin Sails from New York September 8, 1810
  14. Tonquin Arrives at Mouth of Columbia Spring 1811
  15. Overlanders Cross the Divide Led by Wilson Price Hunt
  16. Destruction of the Tonquin, Summer of 1811
  17. First Overland Astorians Arrive
  18. Arrival of Astoria to the Northwest Company, Oct. 1813
  19. U.S. Ship Ontairio Flying American Flag, 1818
  20. Coming of the Pioneers - 1837-1848
  21. The Railway Arrives 1893

The "State of Oregon, 1859" is depicted in the final scene at the top.


Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Robert Gray, Astoria Column. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark, Astoria Column. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Canoe and Salt Works, Astoria Column. Image taken May 25, 2004.
Image, 2004, Astoria Column, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Northwest Company and the Ship Ontario, Astoria Column. Image taken May 25, 2004.


Trajan Column, Rome, Italy ...
The 100-foot-tall Trajan Column was erected in Rome around 114 A.D. by Emperor Trajan and is made of marble. It is covered by a continuous low-relief sculpture depicting Trajan's Dacian campaigns. The University of Kentucky King Library Press Website (2007) gives some information:

"... Trajan's Column was erected 106-113 C.E. in Trajan's Forum in Rome to commemorate his victories over Dacia. The 100 foot tall column is made of marble quarried near Cararra and is covered by a continuous low-relief sculpture depicting Trajan's Dacian campaigns. The column and capital were constructed from 20 separate blocks of marble and the column contains a spiral stair leading to an observation platform at the top. The pedestal supporting the column is about 25 feet tall and served as Trajan's tomb after his death in 117. Originally the column was topped by a bronze eagle, but that was replaced by a statue of Trajan after his death. The statue of Trajan, now lost, was replaced by a statue of Saint Peter in 1588. The inscription over the door in the pedestal has long been regarded as one of the finest examples of Roman letter forms and has been the basis for many type faces. ..."

Penny Postcard, Trajan Column, Italy, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard: Trajan Column, Rome, Italy.
Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Roma. Foro Traiano." In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Trajan Column, Italy, ca.1910
Click image to enlarge
Penny Postcard (Double): Trajan Column and interior of the Ulpian Basilica, Rome, Italy.
Penny Postcard (Double), ca.1910, "Interior of the Ulpian Basilica in Trajan's Forum." In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce website, 2004;    "Lewisandclarktrail.com" website, 2007;    National Register of Historic Places website, 2004;    Oregon State Archives website, 2007;    University of Kentucky Library website, 2007;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
September 2008