• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Management

White wooden arch with the words, "Whitman Memorial Park."
Whitman Mission was designated "Whitman Memorial Park" by the Kiwanis during the 1920s and 1930s.
An NPS Photo
 

On June 29, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation (Public Law 840, H.R. 7736) that established Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu as a unit of the National Park Service (NPS). The act stated the following:





The property acquired under the provisions Section 1 of this Act shall constitute the Whitman National Monument and shall be a public national memorial to Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, who here established their Indian mission and school, and ministered to the physical and spiritual needs of the Indians until massacred with twelve other persons in 1847.



 
Current entrance sign for Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
On May 31, 1962, the name of the park was changed to Whitman Mission National Historic Site. The change in designation from a monument to a national historic site emphasized its historic significance and the need to address the entire historic setting as well as the existing memorials to the Whitmans.
 
Woman in pioneer dress stands next to replica covered wagon
In 1981, Whitman Mission was officially recognized as a historic site along the Oregon Trail.
 
(Information excerpted from Whitman Mission NHS General Management Plan, 2000)

Did You Know?

painting of mission with wagon in front

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.