The Weldon Years (1950-1956): Structure and Accomplishments
The Weldon Years include:
In 1950 Coordinating Superintendent John C. Preston stated that the "next logical step "  for Whitman National Monument was grounds development:
Although unanticipated delays hampered major development, Robert K. Weldon, the first superintendent at the mission, was able to accomplish small-scale development projects that visibly improved the park's appearance. Weldon's major contributions will be examined more thoroughly following a brief overview of the administrative structure.
Robert Weldon remembers his first day at Whitman National Monument, July 23, 1950:
Weldon transferred to Whitman after working at Mount Rainier National Park as district ranger since 1940. Prior to 1940, Weldon served at Hot Springs National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. In January 1956, after 5-1/2 years at Whitman, Weldon was promoted and transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park. Today Weldon lives in his native Colorado.
The monument's first superintendent received little on-site assistance during his administration. Though assisted during the summer months from 1952-1955 by a temporary ranger-historian and from 1953-1955 by a temporary laborer, the monument was "strictly a one man area as regards permanent employees."  Of course, Weldon was supported by the San Francisco Regional Office and by Mount Rainier National Park. In fact, Weldon remembers very helpful personnel:
In 1950 Lawrence C. Merriam succeeded Owen A. Tomlinson as regional director. Preston P. Macy succeeded John C. Preston as superintendent of Mount Rainier and coordinating superintendent of Whitman National Monument in 1952.
Principal Accomplishments: 1950-1956
As a rule, National Park Service areas suffered after World War II from lack of funds, personnel and maintenance; the Whitman National Monument was certainly no exception. In 1950 Weldon reported that the visiting public "is often disappointed in the lack of development and appearance of the area."  Weldon worked hard to eliminate that criticism and as a result accomplished, in his words, "modest scale"  development including trails and signs, grounds maintenance, and an improved interpretive program. An examination of Weldon's major accomplishments must begin with his most time consuming task: maintenance.
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.