KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Chart a course to the past

Visitor Tip: The Column is beautiful every moment of every day, but there is something really special about being in the park at dawn or dusk—let the singing birds and the changing light transport you to another time.

Location

The Astoria Column is located at 1 Coxcomb Drive, about two hours west of Portland. It’s easy to find: Signs are on 14th and 16th Streets in Astoria.

Don’t forget to bring…

Jackets. Summer temperatures climb to the upper 60s Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures dip to the upper 30s.

Costs

Visiting the park or climbing the Column is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle, which is good for one year.

Park hours

The Column is open from dawn to dusk daily.
The park closes at 10 PM.

Gift shop hours

September
9:00 am to 6:00 pm

October – February*
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

March – April
10:00 am to 6:00 pm

May – August
9:00 am to 7:00 pm

*Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

BRING A FRIEND

We welcome group visits

We love visits from schools, cruise tours, retirement homes, and historical interest groups. Parking for buses at the site is limited, so contact us in advance for assistance.

Plan your visit to the Column

Accessibility

Although the Column is not wheelchair accessible, the grounds, park, and gift shop are. If your group requires special consideration, please let us know in advance of your trip by calling the gift shop at 503 325 2963, and we’ll work with you to accommodate your needs.

Group information

Large groups are welcome at the Astoria Column, and limited parking for buses is available at the park site. We ask buses and school groups to please contact us at 503-325-2963 to make arrangements. Visit our groups page for more information.

Special events

The Astoria Column provides a wonderful setting for outdoor weddings, reunions, birthday parties, and corporate events. Please note, however, that the park site is a public space and cannot be closed for private events.

FAQ

When and why was the Astoria Column constructed?

The Astoria Column was built in 1926 to celebrate the discovery, exploration, and settlement of the West. It was commissioned by Ralph Budd, then-president of the Great Northern Railroad. The structure is made of concrete and cost $27,133.96 to construct.

How tall is the Column?

The Column is 125-feet high, with 164 steps to climb to the observation deck.

What do the illustrations show?

The stunning illustrations depict the history of the Astoria area from the time before explorers arrived, to the arrival of the railroad. The Column shows a variety of significant events, including the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray, meeting with the Chinook and Clatsop Tribes, the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Who was the artist?

Attilio Pusterla immigrated from Italy to New York and worked in a style called sgraffito (skra-fe-to). It starts with a dark, plaster basecoat with white plaster laid over it; then the artist scratches or etches figures and scenes. To install Pusterla’s vision, workers devised a round wooden structure that encircled the Column and dangled by ropes from the 110-foot high viewing platform, providing a mobile scaffold for the artists. However, Pusterla was a perfectionist and was prone to destroy the previous day’s work if he found it didn’t meet his satisfaction.

Where can I buy a glider to fly from the top of the Column?

Gliders are available at low-cost from the onsite gift shop. Our guests fly thousands of them each year and, for many, it’s a family tradition.

How difficult is it to maintain the Column?

We have completed two restorations, one in 1995 and one in 2015. The latest restoration brought out dazzling detail and includes meticulous hand painting to restore the original artist’s intended effect. The artwork is at the mercy of Oregon Coast weather. Mildew, rain, and wind can wear the images. The latest restoration used paints designed for use in monuments, and is predicted to remain beautiful much longer than previous restorations.

How can I be a part of the Astoria Column?

Consider volunteering your time, helping to keep the park clean, becoming a docent, or sponsoring one of the pavers at the base of the Column.