‘The Vista House’ – A jewel on the Columbia River

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Marketing Guy

I wasn’t necessarily planning on writing a blog entry this week, but I was inspired to when I saw “The Vista House” on a recent trip to Central Washington. I had to share what I saw.

Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house


Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house

Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house


Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house

They call this octagonal structure a “house” in the loosest sense of the word. It’s more of a monument/observatory perched 733 feet above the Columbia River below. Designed to withstand the area’s famous winds, the face of the building is faced with ashlar-cut sandstone, and the interior walls are Alaska Tokeen Marble and Kosota Limestone.

In other words, this thing ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

According to The Vista House Web site, the building — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — was built between 1916-1918 by Multnomah County (Oregon), “as a comfort station and scenic wayside for those traveling on the Historic Columbia River Highway, which had been completed in 1913. It is also a memorial to Oregon pioneers. It was formally dedicated on May 5th, 1918.”

During the early part of this century, the building underwent a five-year renovation and was re-opened in 2005 to the public.

Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house

The day we were there was a perfect time to take in the views the property affords. I will say it was pretty darn crowded, and be prepared to stop and start quite often on the way down the mountain, especially if you go by the popular Multnomah Falls trailhead. Don’t let the people and the huge, vicious dogs (see the picture) dissuade you from the journey, though.

Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house, dog


Vista House, Columbia River, Oregon, historic house



Top 10 Web sites for old house ‘DIYers’

This week, we borrow content from another house-themed blog — “The Craftsman: Writings for the Historic Home.” Author Scott Austin Sidler is the owner of Austin Home Restorations in Orlando, Fla.,

He recently put together a very nice piece on the “Best Web sites for Old House DIYers.” Even if you don’t own an old house, we recommend you take a look, as you can apply a lot of the themes that are touched on to any home.

Scott, who founded his company in 2010, has been around old houses for most of his life. He developed a fascination with them when his parents purchased a 1759 Colonial in downstate New York during his childhood.

As he states on his Web site, “The hand-hewn timbers, antique glass and overall sense of history intrigued him. The grandson of a painter, he began his first restoration in 2001 with a 1918 townhouse in Astoria, NY.”

Now, he works to preserve the historic homes of Central Florida. Thank you for the article, Scott!

We’d love to know your thoughts! Let us know — do you have other sites you’d add to this list?

If you have knowledge in a topic our readers may be interested in — such as historical preservation, home genealogy or homes in general — and are interested in writing a guest column for us, please let us know! Contact us at info@homehistorybook.com.