Maryhill Boasts Columbia River Gorge Views and Culture

Turn-of-the-century gas and electric magnate Sam Hill wanted the world to “realize the magnificence and grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge.”

So he built a town—Maryhill—roads, monuments and a mansion from which he could enjoy the view himself. But the hilltop location made logistics such as irrigation overwhelming, so he turned the home into an art museum, and today visitors can enjoy the Beaux Arts–style mansion inside and out.

Specializing in sculptures by Auguste Rodin, the Maryhill Museum of Art is adorned with paintings, statues and crafts. Queen Marie of Romania, who dedicated the museum, donated a large collection of personal items, turning it into a trove of Eastern European folk art and artifacts. Indigenous art from the Northwest has a strong representation, with an assortment of baskets and other woven crafts. Outside, foxes, turkeys and peacocks make the rounds among sculptures.

Maryhill has continued to grow, too. In 2012, the museum opened a $10 million, 25,000-square-foot wing, home to its permanent ceramics exhibit. And visitors can now sample Hill’s legacy at Maryhill Winery, which features a 3,000-square-foot tasting room, picnic grounds and a 4,000-seat amphitheater that is home to open-air concerts all summer. Of course, the tastiest fruit of Hill’s labor may be the artfully crafted wine bottled here. Maryhill produces more than two dozen single-varietal wines and blends—perfect with which to toast Hill’s vision.

—John Patrick Pullen

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