• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Introduction

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We were coming, my wife and I, back from the east . . . . This was the first time we went to the Whitman Mission, must have been spring of '47, June or something like that. I think it had just become nationalized. There was just an old shack out there and one workman--and he was asleep in a wheelbarrow. I got out and took a picture at a sign on a fence post that said, "Whitman Mission" and just after I took the picture, the sign fell down. [1]

Understandably, Bill Gulick and his wife "weren't very much impressed" [2] with the Whitman National Monument in the 1940s. With limited staff, little money, and the interruption of a World War, National Park Service management of the site was minimal, at best. However, since those early years, seven superintendents, various National Park Service personnel, and hundreds of local Walla Walla citizens have contributed to the successful development of the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. Recognition of their work is one of this report's goals.

The purpose of this administrative history is to explain why and how the Whitman Mission National Historic Site developed. Particular emphasis will be placed on management policies including who made the decisions, why, and what effect those decisions had on the park. Topics relevant to management, such as administration, cultural and natural resources, visitor facilities, and community relations will also be addressed. Finally, this administrative history is designed to provide current National Park Service managers with the historical background necessary for future decision-making.

Did You Know?

picture of tule lodge

The tule lodge offers a comfortable place for the people inside. The structure is held up by wooden poles and covered with mats made of tule. Tules are a type of sedge; they grow in marshy areas; and are also called "bullrushes." Tules are stronger than they look. A tule lodge can withstand rain and wind.