||The Column's interior 164-step spiral staircase leads to the top of a viewing platform with breathtaking panoramic views of the Astoria Bridge, Pacific Ocean, mouth of the Columbia River, Youngs Bay, various lakes, the shoreline of Washington State, the peaks of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, and Saddle Mountain. As you can see, the climb is well worth the effort.||
New York architect Electus D. Litchfield designed the column, patterning it after the Trajan Column erected in Rome by Emperor Trajan in 114 A.D. It was decorated by Attilio Pusterla, an Italian-born artist, using a sgraffito technique (bas-relief etching in cement) developed during the Italian Renaissance. In 1926, it cost $27,133.96 to build and decorate the Column.
John Jacob Astor, for whom Astoria is named, was the head of the fur trading company that built Fort Astoria. His great-grandson, Vincent Astor, helped finance the building of the Column. The Great Northern Railroad paid for the rest of it.
Due to years of inclement coastal weather, the images on the Column had become so damaged that many of them could no longer be seen. Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Astoria Column and countless others, restoration of the column began in April 1995. The finished project was unveiled in November 1995. The cost to repair it was approximately $750,000.
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