Astoria Column on YouTube Signup for the Astoria Column Newsletter


Artwork on the Column

The Astoria Column was designed to celebrate three historic events: the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray; the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; and the arrival of the ship Tonquin. Each of these events contributed to the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming becoming part of the United States.

Scenes depicting these events are displayed on the Astoria Column, spiraling from its base to just beneath its viewing platform, 125 feet in the air. The artwork was created using a technique called sgraffito (“skrah-fee-toh”), an Italian Renaissance art form. Immigrant artist Attilio Pusterla, hired for his expertise in the technique, began transcribing the artwork onto the surface of the Column on July 1, 1926, with the help of his assistants. The work of transcribing the artwork was completed October 29, 1926.


Oregon Historical Society, Online Research Resources, Oregon History Project 
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch St. Louis)
Fort Clatsop National Memorial 
The Lewis & Clark Rediscovery Project