We keep track of our past events here.
William Tye is an assistant conductor working for Dorsey Baker's Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad. Tye will be talking about his job working on the locomotives, how these narrow-gauge steam engines ran, and how they were configured (have you ever heard of a platform of dogs being used in place of a cow catcher?). He will also give some history on the local railroad, how it was brilliantly financed by Dr. Baker and what it took to bring the railroad to Walla Walla. He'll also describe how the track itself was constructed and explain exactly what "rawhide railroad" is referring to, clearing up some myths and legends that surround Dr. Baker's famous enterprise.
During their visit, guests can see one of the locomotives William Tye would have operated. The Blue Mountain is the last existing narrow-gauge engine from Dorsey Baker's WW&CRR. If weather permits, William Tye will show visitors the components of the train and describe the missing pieces that would have allowed the train to operate.
William Tye is portrayed by Gary Lentz.
Fort Walla Walla Museum’s Annual Member Meeting - Come and hear about the state of YOUR museum!
Please join us in the Grand Hall for the 2019 year in review, to be followed by a special program.
Candidates for election to the board of directors will then be introduced by ballot to serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022. The Annual Meeting is open to the public; however, only active members are able to cast a ballot.
At the end of the meeting Blue Mountain Land Trust will screen their documentary on the Centennial Commemoration of the 1919 Walla Walla Tractor Show.
As a graduate of the Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary in 1855, Peasley Chamberlain received his first assignment to pastor First Congregational Church in Portland, Oregon Territory. He and his new wife, Alice, left New York on their wedding day for Portland.
Although the church grew from 23 to 150 members during his first year as pastor, it didn’t take long for Rev. Chamberlain to take his virulent vilification of secret societies and the Roman Catholic Church to extremes. Things deteriorated to the point that in 1862 he was dismissed as pastor.
Within two years, Chamberlain had settled in Walla Walla, such a debauched place that Chamberlain decided to establish a church here, one that would also provide schooling for the young children. With his own money, he erected a small building at Second and Rose that was dedicated as First Congregational Church in November 1864.
The Chamberlains sustained themselves primarily through the school they operated in the church building. Chamberlain was instrumental in advocating moving Whitman Seminary, the precursor to Whitman College, from Waiilatpu to Walla Walla. He was appointed as the first principal in 1866 when the seminary opened in its new building at Boyer and Park. He continued to preach at First Congregational Church until 1879 and died in 1889. He was never successful in growing the church he established here due to his extreme beliefs, but over the ensuing years First Congregational Church has assumed an important role in Walla Walla.
Reverend Peasley Chamberlain is portrayed by Steve Wilen.
A basket weaving workshop will be taught in the Grand Hall at Fort Walla Walla Museum. The instructor will be Maribeth Bergstrom. Be sure to pre-register!
A basket weaving workshop will be taught in the Grand Hall at Fort Walla Walla Museum. The instructor will be Maribeth Bergstrom. Be sure to pre-register!
William B. Phillips came to Walla Walla in 1860 and brought his family up from Salem Oregon in 1861. He opened a tin and stove shop on Main Street as well as Walla Walla’s first foundry. After a series of disastrous fires, he was appointed Fire Marshall and reorganized the fire department. Williams will be talking about early events and happenings in Walla Walla’s formative years.
William Phillips is portrayed by his great-grandson, Dick Phillips.
The Columbia River Plateau has the dubious distinction of being the sole North American culture region whose distinct Indigenous beadwork traditions are popularly identified as being products of outside influences. In this Museum After Hours presentation, Maryhill Museum of Art curator Steven L. Grafe will examine this phenomenon and illustrate the uniqueness of the three main styles of Plateau Native beadwork dating from 1860-1960.
Members of the public interested in attending should get in touch with the Walla Walla Historic Auto Club for an invitation to this event. This will help the offsite coordinator with a final head count.
This cemetery tour is free, courtesy of the Walla Walla Historic Auto Club. Guests will need to provide their own transportation. The Mountain View Cemetery will be toured with a focus on the Grand Army of the Republic, a paternal organization that provided veterans assistance. The talk will celebrate the reunification of the country.
Catholic missionary Eugene Casimir Chirouse traveled from his native France to Oregon Territory with four missionary oblates and arrived at Fort Walla Walla on October 5, 1847—only a month before the killings at the Whitman Mission. The Catholic fathers and missionaries were now called upon to be peacemakers.
Chirouse was ordained at Hudson's Bay Company Fort Walla Walla on January 2, 1848, the first Catholic ordination in what would become the state of Washington.
In 1853, Fr. Chirouse founded the St. Rose of the Cayouse mission at the mouth of Yellowhawk Creek, where Governor Isaac Stevens met him on his way from the east through the Walla Walla Valley to assume his duties in Olympia. Chirouse was also present at the Walla Walla Treaty Council of 1855 conducted by Stevens.
At the end of 1856, during the Indian Wars, he was transferred to the Puget Sound area, where he lived and worked for most of the rest of his life, dying in British Columbia in 1892.
Eugene Chirouse is portrayed by Jean-Paul Grimaud.
The museum is happy to welcome back the American Truck Historical Society, who will be hosting their 27th annual large scale car and truck show. The event will take place on Saturday, September 21 from 10 am to 5 pm. The truck show is organized and run by the Blue Mountain Chapter of the ATHS. Forty to fifty vehicles, including farm trucks, pickups, and semis, are expected to be on display along with small engines, tractors, and other transportation items. Admission to the museum will get you into the event.
Incorporated in 1971, the American Truck Historical Society was formed to preserve the history of trucks, the trucking industry, and its pioneers. An annual convention has been held each year since 1972 with a public antique truck show added in 1980. These shows have grown to over 1,000 trucks, fire apparatus, buses and RVs, military and special interest vehicles. The ATHS has members in all 50 states and 23 countries.
Individuals looking to showcase their vehicles or joining the ATHS Blue Mountain Chapter may contact Russ Shorten at 509-876-1795.
In 1862 Mrs. Whitman came to Walla Walla to join her husband E.B. Whitman, who had been recently elected as the city’s first mayor. She was born in Portland, Maine, in 1828, the daughter of a lawyer, and was educated in the Boston area where she met her future husband. The couple married and had two sons. In 1850 Mr. Whitman traveled west to seek his fortune in the California gold fields. Mrs. Whitman remained in Boston to raise her children until E. B. had chosen a new location for the family. After 12 years, the couple reunited in Walla Walla where they were active in civic affairs and resided for the rest of their lives. Mrs. Whitman will share music of her time with Museum visitors.
Mrs. Miner, Walla Walla’s first schoolteacher, opened a private school in a store building on Main Street in the winter of 1861-62. She was then given a certificate, and on June 16, 1862 began the first public school classes in Walla Walla. She was described as “a lovely, cultured woman, who had the finest house plants in town.”
Sarah Miner is portrayed by Emily Cairns.
Meet Grace Isaacs, Walla Walla's early local leader, suffragist and all around go-getter. She organized the Women's Park Club whose campaign financed our Pioneer Park. (If you have questions about who actually designed the park, Grace can set you straight. It might not be who you think.) Wondering about the history of women's suffrage in Walla Walla? Grace will tell you about that time Susan B. Anthony visited here and was refused a place to stay the night. Grace will look back and recount the early goings on at the Women's Reading Club and the Art Club. She was a world traveler and will share some of her experiences with you. She'll have business advice for you too, since she was also an entrepreneur. Get the lowdown from Grace Isaacs, one of Walla Walla's most interesting women.
Grace Isaacs is portrayed by Susan Monahan.
Adam West spent the first part of his life in Walla Walla and William Kirkman the last. They were separated by decades in life but have come together in a permanent exhibit at the Kirkman House Museum.
Johnathan Grant, who often portrays Batman at various events, has loaned most of the items on display in the Adam West Exhibit at Kirkman House Museum. He got to know West through his job at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, and grew to respect and admire the actor. He has been collecting Adam West objects and memorabilia for several years. Rick Tuttle, who often portrays William Kirkman, has been on Kirkman House Museum board of directors for 17 of the last 18 years. He was responsible for the overall concept and construction of the exhibit. Together in this After Hours presentation, Jonathan and Rick will talk about how Adam West and Batman influenced them to collaborate on an exhibit to honor one of Walla Walla’s best known sons.
The exhibit follows Adam’s life from early childhood to more recent guest performances on shows like Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory. Because his portrayal of Batman is so iconic and loved, special emphasis is paid to this character. The exhibit places you in Bruce Wayne’s den where you will see many high-quality screen-accurate props, experience the thrill of receiving a call on the Bat Phone, and pressing a hidden button to reveal the Bat Poles. Jonathan and Rick will talk about how the exhibit has evolved and become something you won’t find anywhere else, and where it may go in the future.
Charles Tung, a leader of the local Chinese community, was born in San Francisco and moved to Walla Walla in 1880. Fluent in both English and Chinese, Tung often acted as a translator for many local Chinese people. His stories of life in Walla Walla as a Chinese merchant are fascinating. Walla Walla was like many communities in the United States of the late 1800s that placed numerous restrictions on its Chinese population. Tung’s accounts are filled with a perspective from those difficult days.
Tung owned the Kwong Chung Sing Company, importing Chinese silk, porcelain, and tea to Walla Walla. He acted as secretary-treasurer of the Chinese operated Pacific Enterprise Corporation that built a two-story structure at Fifth and Rose Streets in 1911.
In 1930, Tung departed the United States for China to enroll his daughter in Chinese schools and did not return until 1939 because of the war in that country. While in China, he operated a bank in Canton province.
Charles Tung is portrayed by fifth generation Walla Wallan Galen Tom.
Carpenter, photographer, merchant, lawman, express messenger, steamship company agent, merchants’ agent, surveyor, road builder, politician, government employee, miner. Lewis H. Day worked at all these occupations during his time in the Northwest between 1850 and 1877. While operating a photography business in Walla Walla for only a short time, he made a significant impact on the area in other ways. Join us as we journey through this quarter century of Northwest history with one of the early movers and shakers of the area.
Lewis Henry Day is portrayed by Al Cummins.
This year the Ice Cream Social will take place on Sunday, August 18 from 10 am – 5 pm. This social gathering celebrates a time when the days passed at a slower pace and the local community came together to enjoy the lazy days of summer.
This year will feature a performance by Ballet Folklorico from 12 - 1 pm. The 2 pm Living History performance will be Judge William Langford. Born in Ohio in 1835 Langford later came to Oregon to study law. He was the last territorial justice of the Washington Territorial Supreme Court to serve in Walla Walla County.
There will be food available to purchase from Scobie’s Dogs & Grilled Brats, the hot dog cart at Land Title Plaza downtown at lunch time.
A few classic cars will be parked on the grounds from the Walla Walla Historical Auto Club and Walla Walla Cruisers Car Club, so come check out their sweet rides!
There will be dress-up photobooth, a bouncy castle, a special prison escape scavenger hunt, and a scoop of vanilla Baskin Robbins ice cream and Klicker’s strawberry topping with paid admission. Come bring your friends and family to the museum for the sweetest event of the summer!
Ice Cream Social is generously supported by Chervenell Construction Co. and Columbia REA, with support from Jumpin’ Jelly Beans, Klicker’s Berries & Antiques, and Baskin Robbins.
The Pacific Northwest Living Historians (PNLH) will demonstrate the tools and skills employed by the explorers of the epic Lewis and Clark expedition during this two-day special event.
Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark were sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, and to seek the best route to the Pacific Ocean through what we now call the Pacific Northwest. During their voyage of 1804 – 1806, they led the Corps of Northwestern Discovery overland from St. Louis, Missouri, to the mouth of the Columbia River and back again. With no means for resupply, the Corps (a U.S. Army unit of 31 men accompanied by Sacagawea and her infant child, Jean Baptiste) needed to use a diverse combination of skills, along with the right tools, in order to survive.
Dressed in clothing of the style and materials worn by the members of the Corps in 1805-1806, PNLH interpreters will demonstrate and discuss many of those tools and skills, such as handling flintlock firearms, fire starting with flint and steel, camp cooking, making clothing from leather, and making canoe paddles.
Visitors will also learn the history and stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition: the native people that they met, the unfamiliar territory they traveled and mapped, and the strange new animals and plants they discovered.
The program will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, August 10 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 11.
Join us to meet Washington Territory's first governor Isaac Stevens, who served from 1853 to 1857. Stevens was a very controversial figure during his lifetime as well as after. According to one historian, Kent Richards, “Isaac Stevens was most often the center of activity, providing leadership, spewing out orders and ideas, or creating controversy. He was a man either loved or hated.”
During his tenure as territorial governor, he believed that he could successfully quell the problems between the white settlers and the Indian people by negotiating treaties. The Treaties of 1855 with the Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce, Walla Walla and Cayuse Indians were negotiated in Walla Walla. These treaties established many important rights for Indian people and helped them maintain their traditions and culture. In addition they led to the territory outside of reservations being populated by white settlers from the eastern part of the United States.
Governor Stevens is portrayed by Ron Klicker.
Pioneer missionaries Cushing and Myra Eells arrived in the Valley in 1838. They settled among the Spokane Indians until the tragedy at the Whitman's mission in 1847, when they moved to the Willamette Valley.
They returned to the Walla Walla Valley at the close of the Indian wars in 1859 to reclaim the mission grounds at Waiilatpu, the Whitman Mission site. There, Cushing decided to found an educational institution, the Whitman Seminary. In 1883 it became Whitman College as a result of the Eells efforts that continued throughout their lives.
Reverend Eells is portrayed by Whitman College professor Rogers Miles.
William McBean was born in Canada about 1807 and came to the Walla Walla region in 1846. He became chief factor in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Company fort at the time of the Whitman Massacre in 1847. He left Fort Walla Walla in 1855 during the Indian wars and later returned to the region with his Indian wife and children. McBean continued to reside in Walla Walla and was active in assisting various Catholic institutions until his death in 1892.
Several items owned by McBean, including a mule-ear chair and brand, are currently on display in the special exhibit Fantastic Finds: Treasures from the Archives.
Come see a traditional leather working demonstration in front of the harness shop. Lee McKewen will be hand stitching holsters using his stitching horse. He will be demonstrating various leather working techniques like hand stitching, riveting and cutting straps.
John Potter is a retired computer programmer who has been collecting magic lantern slides for over 30 years. In this informative and entreating show he will share a variety of slides using a magic lantern, the earliest form of the slide projector, with a patent date of 1907. He will share information about the history of the magic lantern and discuss the equipment and different types of slides it can project.
The slide content will include many historic images of the Northwest, including Puyallup, Tacoma, Seattle, Walla Walla, and some images related to industry in Washington State. He will also share images of early advertising and political slides, coming attractions, and sing-alongs. Of special note are an array of mechanical slides that give the effect of movement, such as chromatropes (similar to a kaleidoscope) slip slides, and lever slides.
Audience participation is greatly encouraged, so come by and enjoy the magic lantern show!
William McBean, Hudson’s Bay Company trader will tell the story of David Thompson, a famed British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker.
McBean was born in Canada about 1807 and came to the Walla Walla region in 1846. He became chief factor in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Company fort at the time of the Whitman Massacre in 1847. He left Fort Walla Walla in 1855 during the Indian wars and later returned to the region with his Indian wife and children. McBean continued to reside in Walla Walla and was active in assisting various Catholic institutions until his death in 1892.
Nelson G. Blalock was born in 1836. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1861 and worked as a surgeon during the Civil War. In 1873 he traveled by wagon from Illinois to Walla Walla, eventually becoming a family doctor here. In 53 years of practice he delivered 6,000 babies. He was involved in many other projects, including installing the first telephones in the state, establishing two large orchards, and pioneering arid land wheat farming.
Nelson Blalock is portrayed by Don Weaver.
The first Adventist missionaries arrived in California in the late 1860s. The Adventist message spread to the Walla Walla Valley, with several converts living here by 1873. That same year, the first Adventist church was organized in the city. These Adventist pioneers will talk about their Walla Walla history and more.
Join us at Fort Walla Walla Museum on July 14 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. to see the WaHac antique cars on display.
Hen Lee was born in China in 1819. During the political unrest of the 1850s, he immigrated from Canton province to the U.S. along with many other Chinese immigrants. By the 1860s he was one of the first Chinese residents to settle in Walla Walla with his family. In 1861 he opened and ran a successful laundry business on Second Street.
Hen Lee is portrayed by Myron Huie.
Let kids see, learn, and explore at the Museum this summer with the Pioneer Kids Camp! This fun and educational day camp features guided activity stations that allow children ages 9 through 11 to experience life the pioneer way.
The cost of the camp is $30 ($25 for Fort Walla Walla Museum members). The fee includes lunch and an official souvenir. (Scholarships are available to allow all students to participate, call for details at 509-525-7703.) Pre-registration is required. Be sure to sign up early as limited space is available and spots fill up quickly!
Pioneer Kids Camp is sponsored by Coffey Communications and Yancey P. Winans Trust.
In 1853, William Hurst Rockfellow was the wagon master of a wagon train headed to southern Oregon near the present day city of Talent. He came north during the Gold Rush days in eastern Walla Walla County and operated the Rockfellow & Co. Pony Express, which ran between Walla Walla and the Boise Gold Basin in Idaho. While working as a prospector in Oregon, he, his brother Albert, and three other Jackson County, Oregon friends discovered the famous Rockfellow ledge of gold, now known as the Virtue Mine. He and his partners set up their stamp mill to extract the ore on Powder River, and eventually Baker City grew up around it. Meanwhile, William’s wife operated a boarding house in Walla Walla. One of his daughters, Alice, married Harvey Meacham, who owned the Meacham toll road that ran between Idaho and Oregon and a hotel near the summit of the Blue Mountains between La Grande and Pendleton, Oregon.
William Rockfellow is portrayed by his great grandson, Dick Phillips.