Chapter Two: Events Leading to the Establishment of the Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Commemoration of the Whitmans began long before the 1916 establishment of the National Park Service. In 1859, only twelve years after the Whitman massacre, the Reverend Cushing Eells received a charter from the Washington Territorial Legislature for Whitman Seminary in honor of his colleague. The commemorative efforts by Dr. Whitman's friends and associates and later by concerned local citizens generated interest in the Whitmans that attracted the National Park Service to Walla Walla. Therefore, these early memorial efforts deserve recognition, as they laid the foundation for the present-day national historic site.
Did You Know?
The Whitmans’ mission was important to early Oregon Trail travelers. Those who were sick, tired, or hungry or who needed a wagon fixed would make the side trip to the mission. Some would spend the winter with the Whitmans before continuing on to the Willamette Valley.