• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the park close for the winter?
No. Some area attractions do close during the winter, but Whitman Mission stays open. Whitman Mission National Historic Site is open everyday except for Thanksgiving, December 25th and January 1st. More information can be found at Operating Hours and Seasons.

Can I bring my dog?
Yes. Pets may be on the grounds, but must be on a leash. Only assistance animals (guide dogs, etc.) are allowed inside the Visitor Center. More information can be found at Pets.

Is there a picnic area?
Yes. A picnic area is located at the far end of the parking lot. Bring all the food you’ll need. Food and beverages are not sold at Whitman Mission. More information can be found at Picnicking.

How much walking is there?
The park has a little over 1 mile of trails. The building foundations are located a short distance behind the visitor center; the path is flat and paved. The Whitmans are buried in a mass grave located at the base of the hill. There are two paths to the top of the hill. All of these paths are paved. A wheelchair is available for loan at the Visitor Center desk. More information can be found at Accessibility

Was the mission at the top of the hill?
No. The mission was situated on the flat ground next to the Walla Walla River. The Whitmans came to this area to convert the native people. They did not build their mission as a defensive structure.

Was everybody killed during the “massacre”?
No. The word “massacre” gives an inaccurate impression of this tragic event. Thirteen people were killed in the initial attack. Except for Mrs. Whitman, women and children were not killed. The majority of the people at the mission were taken hostage and held captive for a month.

What happened to the buildings?
A few months after the release of the hostages the Cayuse returned and burned down the buildings. They destroyed the mission in retaliation for lodges which had been destroyed by the Oregon Volunteers. Archeological work has revealed the location of the original mission buildings. Today those building foundations are marked with concrete blocks.

Did You Know?

picture of Great Basin Wild Rye Grass

Great Basin Wild Rye Grass is part of the natural landscape at Whitman Mission. The name Waiilatpu, meaning place of rye grass, was used by the people to name the mission site.