Gifts to Vista House

Within a few weeks of beginning my new position in the Gorge, I received a phone call.  It was Ms. Julianna Guy calling from Bellingham, Washington.  Julianna had a special request.  She was 87 years old, and before she died, she wanted to see a plaque at Vista House recognizing her father.

Vista House on Crown Point_Grey Day

What if no one had donated land for all of us at Crown Point?

Julianna’s grandparents were Dr. and Mrs. Osmon Royal, and they had owned acreage at Crown Point (the site of Vista House) when they passed, in 1910 and 1912, respectively.  An only child, Julianna’s father, Osmon Royal II, inherited the land from his parents.

Soon after, the City of Portland approached Mr. Royal about donating the land, and on November 2, 1914, Osmon Royall II along with three others gave land at Crown Point, each for the sum of “One Dollar … in consideration of the public good and benefit … for park purposes …”  Osmon Royal II was just 22 when he made the commitment.

Although Julianna’s father passed when she was 10 years old, she said that her mother, Carolyn Merritt Royal, told her children of their father’s “donation and of the love they both had for Mt. Hood, Crown Point … and of their courtship on the hiking trails of the area.”


Without Vista House at Crown Point, over a million visitors a year would miss out on this view of the Columbia River Gorge.

Today, nearly 100 years later, a plaque hangs in the recognition hall in the lower level of Vista House.  It recognizes a total of eight land donors:  November 2, 1914 — Lorens Lund, Mari Lund, Osmon Royal II, George B. Van Waters; January 16, 1915 — Sarah M. Cornell, Ivan R. Cornell, Edward C. Cornell, Maud Cornell.  On July 27, 2014, Julianna Guy and twenty-six of her and Osmon Royal II’s relatives will travel to Vista House to see the plaque and pay tribute to their ancestor.  And with the date nearing, I thought we all should, too.


Nearly 100 years ago, eight individuals generously donated land for Vista House at Crown Point.

Countless individuals and groups have contributed to the Vista House that we see today.  Some, like Osmon Royal II, donated land.  Some, like Vista House visitors, have donated money.  Others, like the Friends of Vista House volunteers, donate time.  All are invaluable.

So the next time you are at Vista House, I encourage you to visit the recognition hall.  To stop, read names of the 320-plus donors, and consider what Vista House must have meant to each.  And, then, perhaps, what it means to you.


DO YOU KNOW RELATIVES of land donors Lorens Lund, Mari Lund, Osmon Royal II, George B. Van Waters, Sarah M. Cornell, Ivan R. Cornell, Edward C. Cornell, or Maud Cornell?  They are invited to meet the extended family of Osmon Royal II at Vista House on Sunday, July 27, 2014 between 10 and 11 AM (exact time TBD by the Royal family).




Posted on July 23, 2014, in Cultural History, Programs & Events, Visiting the Gorge. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’ve passed this information on to Tony Jones, descendant of Lorens Lund. I tried to find someone from the Royal family before my book (Building the Columbia River Highway) went to press, but was not successful. I will be at Vista House on Sunday. Looking forward to it!

  2. I just got chills reading this! Should you ever wonder if you’re in the “right place,” this clearly shows that you are! Vista House has been in my experience and my memory since I was born and I’m looking forward to another visit — hopefully soon. Much love —

  3. Claudia Brooks

    Another “full circle” experience at the Vista House. May the Royal family gain even a small portion of our appreciation of their gift long ago. Thank you to the Royals and all the kind, generous families who gave so much for our continued enjoyment today and in the future of Crown Point.

  4. Suzanne Royal Jumper

    We, as a family, are proud that our grandfather saw fit to donate his only worldly possession so that others might enjoy this amazing view. His daughter, Julianna Royal Guy and 26 descendants traveled to view the plaque and enjoy the gorge as a family. Knowing our grandfather had a part in preserving this wondrous view for the public to enjoy is a source of pride for our family.

    • I was so excited to be there and see all of you and the plaque thanking those original donors of the land. What a great thing – to know that your family is a part of history!
      Peg Willis
      author of Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

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