DescriptionSeven miles west of Walla Walla off US 12 at 328 Whitman Mission Rd., the 98-acre Whitman Mission National Historic Site, a unit of the Nez Perce National Historical Park, memorializes a Protestant mission established in 1836 by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife.
The mission, one of the first mission stations of its kind in the old Oregon country, operated among the Cayuse tribe until 1847, when a measles epidemic killed half of the village population. Village leaders decided to eliminate the source of the measles infection by killing the Whitmans and other settlers. The attack horrified Americans in the east and focused attention on the status of the Oregon Territory.
Today visitors can explore the grounds of the mission, which include excavations showing the outlined sites of early buildings, a grave where the Whitmans are buried and a visitor center with a small museum. On display in the museum are Cayuse tools and clothing as well as historic items found on the site. A 25-minute movie is shown on request at the visitor center. Junior ranger programs are offered daily during the summer months.
A paved, 1-mile self-guiding trail leads to former building sites, a restored millpond, an apple orchard, an irrigation ditch, a portion of the Oregon Trail, the Whitman Memorial Shaft and the Great Grave. Audio stations provide historical perspective. Picnic facilities are on the grounds. Pets on leash are permitted on trails.
Allow 1 hour minimum. Grounds open daily 8-4:30; closed federal holidays Sept.-Apr. Visitor center open daily 9-4, Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day; Wed.-Sun. 9-4, Feb. 1-day before Memorial Day weekend and day after Labor Day weekend-Nov. 30. Visitor center closed Thanksgiving and federal holidays Sept.-Apr. Admission is free. Phone (509) 522-6360.