We keep track of our past events here.
Note: Adventist pioneer performance has been cancelled.
Meet Isabella Potts Kirkman, the girl who grew up on a flax farm in Ballybay, Ireland and traveled to America to join her sisters in California. Was she an indentured servant? A mail order bride? Isabella will tell all: her humble origins in Ireland, her journey to the New World--even a family scandal! In 1867 she married William Kirkman—the cattleman, farmer and entrepreneur. She’ll share her struggles in the rough and tumble mining towns of Idaho, where William continued his interest in the cattle business until they moved to Walla Walla. Isabella will recount incidents of her life as a society matron here, where with the help of her Chinese domestic, she and William raised their children and entertained the Who’s Who of Walla Walla. Her home is now known as Kirkman House Museum, an elegant brick home built in the Italianate Victorian style.
Isabella Kirkman is portrayed by Kirkman House Board Member Susan Monahan.
The museum is happy to welcome back the American Truck Historical Society, who will be hosting their large scale car and truck show. The event will take place on Saturday, September 15 from 10 am to 4:30/5:00 pm.
The truck show is organized and run by the Blue Mountain Chapter of the ATHS. They are anticipating a large turnout of vehicles, including farm trucks, pickups, semis and more. There will also be a modern wildfire-fighting truck and a 3,000 lb stationary diesel engine on site. The event is included with the general museum admission: $8 general; $7 seniors/students; $3 children 6-12.
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.
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.
Robert Young was born in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in 1849, in a place called Mars Hill. Along with the many Irish who immigrated to America during the 1800s, Young went to work on the railroads that linked America into one nation.
After working for a time in the Southwest, Young and his family came to the Northwest with the railroads. He eventually found a job as a conductor on the Interurban Line of the Walla Walla Valley Traction Company, an electric railroad that connected Walla Walla with Milton and Freewater, where Robert Young's son-in-law planted his orchards after returning from the Spanish American War.
Robert Young is portrayed by his great-grandson, David Higgins.
Dan Clark will be talking about Walla Walla 2020, a civic group that aims to envision, plan for, and undertake projects to help realize a livable community in the Walla Walla area now and for the future. The history component of the group’s work includes the Historic Sites and Markers Project, created to honor unmarked Walla Walla area historic sites by erecting interpretive signage and providing additional details about their significance through printed materials, public presentations, and online information. Their Historic Research and Plaque Project has produced historic property reports and plaques for historic buildings. An online database of the WW2020 research reports and an interactive map of locations can be found on the group's website, ww2020.net.
Dan Clark was born and raised in Walla Walla and attended Whitman College before entering law school at the University of California at Berkeley. Following law school, he served as staff attorney and executive director of Solano County Neighborhood Legal Assistance Agency in Vallejo. In 1971 he returned to Walla Walla where he practiced law privately until his retirement in 2010. In addition to law practice, in 1978 he organized and administered the first general mediation project in Colorado and, in 1981, was a founder and first general secretary of Peace Brigades International, a human rights organization now headquartered in London. In addition, he has helped organize and lead a variety of community organizations in the Walla Walla area, including the Fort Walla Walla Museum Living History Company.
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. The presentation will begin at 5 pm in the Museum's Entrance Building.
Andrew Pambrun was born at Cumberland House near the mouth of the Sasketchewan River in 1821. He attended school at Fort Vancouver in 1832 and then at Red River School in Manitoba where he stayed and taught for six years. Andrew returned to Oregon in 1850 and later worked for Hudson's Bay Co. at Fort Walla Walla. From 1855 to 1858 he served as an aide to territorial governor Isaac Stevens and was of great service during the negotiation of the Treaties of 1855. Pambrun continued to live in the Walla Walla area until his death.
Andrew is portrayed by his great grandson, Sam Pambrun, local historian, teacher and past president of the Umatilla Historical Society. The Pambrun family has lived in this area continuously since the 1830s.
Perhaps the most commonly recognized evergreen in the northwest is the Douglas fir. Have you ever wondered where it got its name?
Wilderness botanist David Douglas was responsible for hundreds of discoveries and descriptions of our native Northwestern trees, shrubs, and plants.
Douglas came to the Pacific Northwest by ship from England in 1825. His explorations for the Royal Horticultural Society were carefully recorded in his journals. He describes his interactions with local Native Americans, encounters with animals, and the arduous and difficult acquisition of plant seeds and specimens. He also describes the landscapes before the effects of European settlement, giving insight into the world as it was here in the Northwest nearly 200 years ago. From 1825 to 1827 he traveled thousands of miles through Washington, Idaho, and Oregon by foot, horse, and canoe. Here he spent his time collecting seeds, preserving specimens, taking notes, and carefully packaging his discoveries for return to England.
David Douglas is portrayed by Gary Lentz.
It's time once again for you to get out your parasol and loafers and come down to Fort Walla Walla Museum’s annual Ice Cream Social! Along with our yearly promise of Baskin-Robbins ice cream and Klicker’s strawberry toppings with paid admission, there will be entertainment and fun for the whole family!
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.
Food preservation is an important skill people needed in the past. Fred Stine will bring the ingredients and the knowledge to show visitors how to make dill pickles. Stine represents one of Walla Walla's best “rags to riches” stories. He arrived in Walla Walla in 1862 with no more than the clothes on his back and 75 cents in his pocket, but he eventually built the largest brick hotel in the Washington Territory. After Stine’s arrival, he quickly went about earning the trust of local residents who lent him sufficient funds to set up a lucrative blacksmith shop serving the needs of miners making their way to Idaho’s gold fields, pioneers from the Oregon Trail, and the military at Fort Walla Walla. With the fortune he made, Stine not only retired his debts in a few short months but soon amassed enough to construct the Stine House in 1872, the largest brick hotel in the region.
Fred Stine is portrayed by Touchet agribusinessman Charles Saranto.
In the 1890s the transcontinental railroad was completed, and the U.S. no longer needed the thousands of Chinese workers who had helped build it. They had gone from providing a valuable service in the westward expansion to competing with “native sons” for jobs and depressing the wages. The climate in the U.S., never friendly to the Chinese, was becoming downright hostile. Crimes against Chinese people were not prosecuted. The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law by President Chester Arthur on May 6, 1882, and other laws like it, were promulgated, prohibiting Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens or owning land. It also blocked further immigration. Although widespread dislike for the Chinese persisted well after the Exclusion Act was enacted, some capitalists and entrepreneurs resisted their exclusion because the Chinese accepted lower wages.
Many Chinese settled in Pendleton and found manual labor around town. One Chinaman was Hop Sing, who opened a laundry and bathhouse down in the basement of a building. Hop Sing ran an advertisement in the Pendleton Tribune dated Aug. 21, 1885. The ad read in part, “Hop Sing Laundry #17 Garden St., Oregon. Clothes washed & ironed, cheaper than cheapest. Satisfaction guaranteed.” He picked up laundry from Pendleton customers with a yoke, wrote on rice paper, used lye soap to clean the laundry, and wrapped the clean laundry in paper and twine to deliver back to his customers. Because Pendleton has a high water table, he had a fresh water well. He offered baths to cowboys and sheep herders, many in extreme need of a bath. The first bath was 10 cents, and each succeeding bath was 1 cent less, still using the original water. Hop Sing ran this business successfully for almost 40 years.
Hop Sing is part of the Pendleton Underground Comes Alive Tour, and has been portrayed by City Council member Myron Huie for the last 13 years.
In 1893, Burlingame arrived in Walla Walla to inspect the plans for an ambitious irrigation project and stayed to dig the ditch that bears his name today. The Burlingame Ditch turned more than 5,000 acres of sagebrush into productive farmland. More than one hundred years after its completion, the Burlingame Ditch still conveys water by gravity within its earthen banks.
Ed Burlingame is portrayed by Tom Williams.
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was the son of Sacagawea, of Shoshone and French-Canadian heritage. At 7 months old, he accompanied Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery to the Pacific in 1805. When the expedition returned the following summer, he was toddling and quickly becoming the expedition’s pompous “little dancing boy,” in Capt. William Clark’s words.
After the expedition, Clark adopted Charbonneau and took him to St. Louis, were he was educated in the finest European tradition. At 18, he accompanied Prince Paul Wilhelm to Germany and spent six years enjoying the royal lifestyle and becoming fluent in four languages.
Back in the American West in 1819, Charbonneau became an explorer and guide, a fur trapper and trader, a military scout, and gold prospector. At one time, he served as mayor of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, in what’s now Oceanside, Calif.
Jean Baptiste "Pomp" Charbonneau is portrayed by acclaimed first-person interpreter Garry Bush.
Frenchtown was located roughly between Touchet and College Place where French-Canadians, often with their Indian wives, settled after working for the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Nez Perce, later known as Fort Walla Walla, a trading post established in 1818 at Wallula. The Frenchtown settlement began about 1823, and by the time the Whitmans arrived in 1836, numbered more than a dozen cabins.
In December of 1855, following the Walla Walla Treaty Council in June, the four-day Battle of Frenchtown, also called the Battle of Walla Walla, took place in the area. The fighting resulted in the killing of Walla Walla Chief Peopeomoxmox and an end to Indian control of the Walla Walla Valley. In 1876, the St. Rose of Lima Mission and cemetery were established on a portion of the battlefield nearby.
The ensemble will feature several Frenchtown residents and Hudson's Bay Company employees.
Michael McCarthy was a soldier stationed at Fort Walla Walla with the 1st U.S. Calvary. As a Sergeant during the Nez Perce War in 1877, he was involved in the fierce struggle at Whitebird Canyon, the first major encounter of the war, near Lewiston where the cavalry lost 34 men. He was later awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in saving many troopers’ lives during that battle, and retired in Walla Walla as a colonel.
Michael McCarthy is portrayed by Bob Bennett.
Randall Melton, collection curator at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, will be giving a fascinating Museum After Hours presentation on Thursday, July 26.
Melton will share some images and objects from the upcoming Tamástslikt exhibit “Beautiful Games: American Indian Sport and Art,” and discuss the importance of sports in the tribal community. Sports have long been an important part of life in American Indian tribal communities. Lacrosse and surfing are attributed to indigenous peoples.
In modern times, Native athletes quickly gravitated to sports like baseball, basketball, football and rodeo, and many American Indians have excelled in modern sports. Competing in sports in tribal communities teaches cooperation, consensus, compromise and teamwork, all of which are pillars of indigenous societies. The exhibit, “Beautiful Games: American Indian Sport and Art,” features artwork, artifacts, history and discussions about sports and its role in tribal life. Some of the highlights from the exhibit include three medals and two Letterman certificates that were presented to Native American athlete and gold medalist Jim Thorpe between 1908 and 1912.
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. The presentation will begin at 5 pm in the museum's Entrance Building.
Caroline Maxson Wood came to the Walla Walla Valley by wagon train in 1859 with her husband, J. Franklin Wood, her parents, Stephen and Lois Maxson, and her three siblings. They settled in the Russell Creek area. Stephen Maxson later brought the first piano to the valley via Cape Horn for his daughter, who became a teacher in the Walla Walla schools and eventually a music teacher at Walla Walla College. Her husband served as superintendent of the Walla Walla school district and was one of the first Seventh-day Adventist evangelists in the area. Caroline Wood is portrayed by Gladys Wentland.
Ellen White is said to have experienced many visions. She will tell visitors about some of them and how they were accepted by the people back in her time. White was in the area for a camp meeting in 1879. Eight different miniatures will help illustrate the Seventh Day Adventist story and include a covered wagon representing the way Woods and Moorehouse arrived in the Walla Walla Valley, a store from that time period, the camp meeting scene, and the first Seventh-day Adventist church in the Northwest, which happens to be located in Walla Walla. Ellen White is portrayed by Sandra Ehrhardt.
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.
If you are interested in how inhabitants of the distant past lived in the Walla Walla Valley, appreciate the character an old house gives to your neighborhood, or enjoy window shopping and dining in downtown Walla Walla, you will want to attend this public meeting to provide your opinions and ideas for a new Washington State Historic Preservation Plan.
The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is working to update its current preservation plan for implementation in 2019. Your help is sought to define strategies and tasks for the state to better protect archaeological sites and landscapes, plus historic buildings and districts.
Join us in the Grand Hall at Fort Walla Walla Museum on Thursday, July 19 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. DAHP staff will be on hand to discuss current preservation efforts and gain your feedback. The meeting will include small group discussions and brainstorming.
For more information about the meeting contact Greg Griffith at DAHP at 360-586-3073 or email@example.com.
Fred Stine represents one of Walla Walla's best “rags to riches” stories. He arrived in Walla Walla in 1862 with no more than the clothes on his back and 75 cents in his pocket, but he eventually built the largest brick hotel in the Washington Territory. After Stine’s arrival, he quickly went about earning the trust of local residents who lent him sufficient funds to set up a lucrative blacksmith shop serving the needs of miners making their way to Idaho’s gold fields, pioneers from the Oregon Trail, and the military at Fort Walla Walla. With the fortune he made, Stine not only retired his debts in a few short months but soon amassed enough to construct the Stine House in 1872, the largest brick hotel in the region.
Fred Stine is portrayed by Touchet agribusinessman Charles Saranto.
Henry Meiners, along with his siblings and parents, arrived in Walla Walla by railroad boxcar in 1884. They were traveling from Illinois where their family owned farmland.
Henry Meiners is portrayed by his great-grandson and Living History newcomer Harris Gwinn. Harris has already made an impact as the memorable “man on the horse” who narrated the events of the pioneer wedding at Fort Walla Walla Days in June. He also manned the harness maker’s shop in the village with a leather working demo. Aside from being a leather worker, Harris is also an experienced blacksmith. He has extensively researched his Bundy, Stovall, Gwinn, and Meiners family history. He will be talking about farming, ranching, blacksmith skills, and rural childhood in his very first solo performance at the old fort.
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.
Pioneer Kids Camp is sponsored by Coffey Communications and Columbia REA.
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.
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.
William was an ambitious, diligent and resourceful man and never let tragedy or setbacks keep him from his ultimate goal of prosperity. His saga begins in England and winds through Boston, San Francisco, Idaho, British Columbia, Australia, Hawaii, Seattle, and finally Walla Walla. Though he ultimately achieved his goals of a beautiful family and accumulating wealth and respect, it was a difficult road with many triumphs and misfortunes.
William Kirkman is portrayed by Kirkman House board member Rick Tuttle.
Open Rehearsals at the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival are free, informal, and informative ways to hear classical music. Join us in the Grand Hall of Fort Walla Walla Museum for this free chamber rehearsal featuring a modern work for eight violins called Gran Turismo.
The subject for this discussion is the Brodeck & Co. Photograph Gallery. Henry H. Brodeck announced the opening of his business in September of 1878 and the business continued, even after his death in 1886, to about 1892 or 1893. His wife, Amelia, son, David, and brother, Albert, all ran the business at some point. Other known photographers, artists and retouchers included John R. Cawthon, Ernest H. Price, Benjamin Taliaferro, H. Schemel, W. B. Smith and Martin Wagner.
Who among this group eventually became an Episcopal priest? Who had a half-sister named “Mademoiselle Fanny,” who was an actress, danseuse and singer on the French stage in San Francisco? Whose father died in a Civil War prisoner of war camp? Who did some early photography in Alaska? Who was five feet, four inches tall, with a high forehead, straight nose, broad chin, long face and dark complexion and wore a mustache? Who came to be involved with mining and banking interests? Whose father was a Judge and the Indian Agent for the Umatilla Indian Reservation?
Museum After Hours is a free monthly lecture series that is open to the public. The presentation will begin at 5 pm in the Museum's Entrance Building.
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 Roger Miles.
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.
Let kids see, learn, and explore at the Museum this summer with the Explorers Kids Camp! This fun and educational day camp features guided activity stations that allow children ages 9 through 11 to discover their inner explorers.
Explorers Kids Camp is sponsored by Coffey Communications and Columbia REA.