Whitman Mission's managers play a very important role in the park's development. Although supervised since 1970 by the Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Seattle, each superintendent has considerable freedom to determine the park's direction and is ultimately responsible for its programs. Given this latitude, each administration reflects the priorities and interests of the superintendent. At the same time, each superintendent is influenced by his predecessor and, as a result, develops programs in reaction to what was done in the past. The following examines each administration--the administrative structure, the accomplishments, and particularly the superintendents--in order to better understand the issues and the people that have affected Whitman Mission's development as a national historic site.
Six superintendents managed the Whitman Mission National Historic Site from 1950-1987. They include Robert K. Weldon, 1950-1956; William J. "Joe" Kennedy, 1956-1964; Raymond C. Stickler, 1965-1971; Stanley C. Kowalkowski, 1971-1980; Robert C. Amdor, 1980-1987; and David P. Herrera, 1987- . Although never a superintendent, Thomas R. Garth was custodian-archeologist at the mission from 1941-1950 and was the first to have responsibility for managing the site. Therefore, this administrative overview begins with Tom Garth.