Monday, August 6, 2007

Not Far From Home

Saturday morning we left home for a fun and memorable day with our family from Kansas. I've lost track of how many times each of us said, "That sure was fun"! We stopped often to look at the sites along the way and to take pictures to help us remember our day together. It was a cloudy day when we left home but the clouds began to lift and soon after these pictures were taken we enjoyed a bright, sunny day. There is too much to tell and too many pictures to share at one time so you will see more in the near future.

The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon that cuts the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountain Range. It is 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep with the north canyon walls in Washington State and the south canyon walls in Oregon State. Early in the 1900's a highway was built along the rocky bluffs of the Gorge in Oregon. This was the original road through the Columbia River Gorge from Troutdale (14 miles east of Portland) to The Dalles (88 miles east of Portland). The Highway was the first scenic highway constructed in the United States. You can learn more about this historic highway here.
Looking East

Looking West (toward Portland)

Samuel Lancaster, Assistant Highway Engineer for Multnomah County in 1913, supervised the Columbia River Highway project. Lancaster proposed construction of a building on the summit of Crown Point, another reflection of his desire to inspire the traveller along the highway and to make the wonders of the gorge accessible. He believed the Crown Point promontory was the ideal site for "an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite". Such an observatory would also be a fitting memorial to "the trials and hardships of those who had come into the Oregon country." And it could "serve as a comfort station for the tourist and the travellers of America's greatest highway." He suggested it be known as the Vista House.The official opening of the Columbia River Highway from Portland to Hood River marked the completion of a tremendous feat in highway construction. On May 5, 1918, dedication of the highway took place at Crown Point. On that rocky promontory, 733 feet above the Columbia River, construction of Vista House began that same year.

The Vista House website will tell you more about Vista House, built along the bluffs high above the Columbia River Gorge, and will provide breathtaking photos. Here is a glimpse of what we saw.

Beautiful stained glass windows

Incredible architechtural detail

Marble staircases and brass handrails

(The restroom walls, including the stall walls, are all made of marble and the stall doors are solid mahogany. The lady at the information desk said they are the most beautiful restrooms you will ever see. I told her I was tempted to take pictures but I didn't think it would be appropriate -- she said, "Oh, go ahead - do it! I didn't.)

This was the first stop on our daylong journey through some of the scenic areas near my home. If you are ever in our part of Oregon try to schedule time to see these sites for yourself. Pictures don't them justice and there is so much more to see. This is just the beginning!

2 comments:

  1. These pictures are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

    Lindy :)

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  2. Lovely, wish I could see it in person. I personally would of taken a picture of the restroom. Hmmmm, what does that say about me? The most beautiful restroom I was ever in was in Dollywood and it looked like something she would have in her own home. Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete

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