Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Whitman Mission National Historic Site includes the original mission site, a mass grave where Marcus and Narcissa Whitman are buried, the Whitman memorial shaft, and a Visitor Center with a small museum. The park is located in southeastern Washington, 7 miles west of Walla Walla off of Highway 12. Other sites of interest are located in Walla Walla and the surrounding area.
This site commemorates the courage of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the role the Whitmans played in establishing the Oregon Trail, and the challenges encountered when two different cultures meet. In 1836, before the wagon trains, a small intrepid group of Presbyterian missionaries traveled with the annual fur trapper's caravan into Oregon Country. Missionaries Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding became the first white women to travel across the continent. Differences in culture led to growing tensions between the Cayuse people and the Whitmans. Their mission became an important stop along the Oregon Trail, but passing immigrants added to the tension. A measles outbreak in 1847 killed half the local Cayuse. Some of the Cayuse blamed these deaths on Dr. Whitman. Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were killed; sixty people were taken hostage. The deaths of the Whitmans sent a shock wave across the country and prompted Congress to make Oregon a U.S. territory.
Seasonality / Weather
Park grounds are open all year, even if it is bitterly cold. The grounds are open every day from dawn until dark. Just come prepared and be careful.
The visitor center is open everyday, 7 days a week, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Summer Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rest of the Year: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Driving directions from Walla:
Turn west onto Highway 12
7 miles west of Walla Walla, turn left (south) onto Swegle Road (look for brown park signs)
Go over railroad tracks and then a bridge (less than 1/2 mile)
Turn left onto park entrance road, which is immediately after bridge
Road ends in circular parking area in front of the visitor center