• Fort Walla Walla Museum (map)
  • 755 Myra Road
  • Walla Walla, WA, 99362
  • United States

played by Dick Phillips

Charles W. Phillips was born in Salem, Oregon in 1855 to William and Pauline Phillips as their first child. William came to Walla Walla in 1860 to size up the growing community, liked it, and brought his family here the next year.

 Charles attended Whitman Seminary, a precursor to Whitman College, until he was about seventeen years old when his father sent him to Bishop Scott Grammar School in Portland, Oregon to prepare him for college. William died while Charles was in school, causing him to return to Walla Walla.

 Charles dabbled in photography before volunteering aboard the steamship Spokane on the Columbia River during the 1878 Bannock Indian war. He brought home 'spoils of war' including a quiver, hat, powder horn and pouch, and a beaded belt now owned by Whitman College. The papers are with Whitman Archives; the material items are in Maxey Museum on campus.

 Following the war, Charles purchased a homestead from the government near Colton, Washington. He returned to Walla Walla when the family's foundry burned in 1881. Charles married Nellie Siskiyou Rockfellow in November that year and opened a tin shop and stove store in Island City, Oregon. He again returned to Walla Walla and established a chicken farm on South Ninth Street. Charles later converted the farm to a nursery and greenhouse business in 1892.

 Charles dreamed of building a park for Walla Walla and decided on an amusement park across from his nursery business. This was Walla Walla's first park, although privately owned. He operated it for about nine years, then sold it to a friend who sold it to another friend who in turn sold it to the City of Walla Walla. The City renamed it Jefferson Park in 1931. During the City Park and Recreation Department's centennial anniversary in 2001, a plaque was placed at a site near the pond.

 When Charles died in 1922, the park still bore the name he gave it: Dreamland Park. Dreamland Park had such attractions as a wild animal zoo, grazing elk, monkey house, a bear pit, exotic birds, dance hall, museum, and a man-made lake surrounding an island with a "summer house." Rented rowboats plied the small lake, passing beneath an arched bridge. Also featured were a spraying fountain, flower beds from Phillips Floral Co., and an 'old timer's' cabin. Those in the region with long memories still remember when it was called Dreamland Park.