Sandstone Art Nouveau Architecture at Crown Point promontory in Oregon USA - HDG Building Materials

Legacy and Natural Stone

Creating a legacy can be an intentional act or a byproduct of using natural stone in architectural works. Who knows how long architect Edgar M. Lazarus envisioned his sandstone designed Vista House would endure. It has been 100 years and it is still standing atop a basalt cliff.

Vista House is a museum at Crown Point in Multnomah County, Oregon. The sandstone building serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers and as a comfort station for travelers on the Historic Columbia River Highway. It is noteworthy that it’s one of the first rest stops from the early days of motoring. Perhaps it is the only rest stop that receives millions of visitors and gifts each of them with a majestic and sweeping view 733 feet above the Columbia River.

Light Gray Sandstone with Mushroomed and Raked Finishes

The exterior of Vista House is light gray sandstone. Most likely, the sandstone was chosen for its strength, easy hand finishing and fabrication. Sandstone for Vista House withstands high winds, rain and snow, and temperature freeze-thaw cycles.  This ability to weather well is due to sandstone’s tight sandy grain and strong quartz crystal makeup. In comparison, it’s nearly as strong as granite but much more workable.

A century ago the mushroomed and raked finish techniques seen in the photo were applied by hand. Though Vista House uses grey sandstone, many more colors are available today.

Sandstone-with-Mushroom-and-Adze-Corduroy-Finish-at-Historic-Vista-House-at-Crown-Point-Overlook-HDG-Building-Materials.jpg

Architect’s and Designer’s Advantage – More of Everything

Fast forward a century and today we have many more choices. Sandstone colors range from camels, tans, yellows, and cinnamons to grays and even plum red. Finishes are hand or machine applied by skilled stone craftsmen near the quarries where stone is extracted, cut into blocks, and further reduced in size.

Using modern computer design software, HDG Building Materials helps architects and designers create job-specific building stone. If it can be drawn, it can likely be fabricated. HDG makes custom samples of finishes or job mock-ups and provides on-site QC inspection to ensure quality of both product and packing. Today, architects and designers have more colors and finishes available in stone —- and with greater precision and artistry. Contact HDG Building Materials to put our natural stone expertise to work for you on your next project.

Mushroom Hand Finished Natural Stone - Sandstone - HDG Building Materials

Feeling of Grandeur Endures

Something magical happens when you climb the steps to see the view from Vista House. It might be the grandeur of the sandstone outside and marble inside or it might be the majestic view up and down the Columbia Gorge. Either way the feeling will likely endure for another century whether we are the drivers who stop by for a look or sightseers getting out of our driverless cars.

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