The nonprofit Friends of Astoria Column is in the midst of what will be a $1 million restoration of the historic landmark that was originally dedicated in 1926 and is approaching 90 years of age.
The 2015 restoration included cleaning the exterior surface of the Column, including the series of historic murals that spiral from bottom to top of the 125-foot structure. The restoration also called for structural repairs to stabilize cracking, delamination and spalling; architectural repairs; and additional structural surveys, evaluations and inspections.
In addition to maintaining the structural integrity of this historic landmark, preservation of the artwork on the Astoria Column is critical to ensure survival of this cultural asset for future generations. Because of its location high on Coxcomb Hill, the Column is exposed to punishing environmental conditions like gale-force winds and driving rain that inflict wear on the structure and its artwork. Restorative efforts were conducted as dictated by the state of the structure and the effects of variable weather conditions, and are hoped to last more than 20 years.
The most recent major art restoration performed on the Astoria Column was completed in 1995. Additional improvements to the grounds were completed in 2004, and the Column’s spiral staircase was replaced in 2008. With the exception of the stair replacement, these projects, totaling over $3.5 million, were funded exclusively by Friends of Astoria Column through campaigns and grants.
More than half the cost of the estimated $1 million project is required to repair the Column artwork and structure itself. The balance is allocated to restoration and repair of the plaza that surrounds the base of the Column, landscape improvements, and installation of new energy-efficient LED lighting.
$500,000 has already been committed to the project by private donors, and the balance will be raised through local and regional fundraising campaigns and events.
The 2015 Column restoration began in May and was completed in October 2015. In the Spring of 2016 the plaza pavers will be reset. The Column grounds will observe regular hours during this time but access to the interior of the Column will be closed for a couple of days when the pavers are reset at the entrance. Guests are advised to call the Astoria Column (503.325.2963), visit this website or check social media feeds (facebook.com/astoriacolumn and twitter.com/astoriacolumn) for the latest information prior to their visit.