Monday, June 7, 2010

Fort Walla Walla

The town of Walla Walla traces its founding to Fort Walla Walla in 1856. The name came from the Walla Walla Indians who inhabited the valley; it means "many waters".  The first fort burned down in the late 1820s and was burned down again in the late 1830s. It was rebuilt but destroyed by fire during the Indian Wars of the 1850s. The next structures to be known as Fort Walla Walla were military forts. The only fort buildings left from that era are to the east of the museum. The present fort/museum was completed in 2009. History began in this area when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through what is now Walla Walla County in 1805. One of the exhibits in the museum is a diorama of the local American Indians exchanging gifts with Clark. It was noted that for this one meeting five different languages were present and four translators were needed. Back then just in this area alone were four different Indian tribes; the Cayuse,Palouse,Wanapum, and Walla Walla. The museum also has five large exhibit halls where horse-era farming, pioneer settlement and the fort's military history are displayed. We were especially  fascinated by the different combines present in those large buildings. In one building is housed an entire stationary threshing outfit as used in the early 1900s. In another exhibit hall is the next technological development in horse-era agriculture; the Harris Combine and the Schandoney hitch. This was most impressive to me as it took a thirty-three mule train to operate that machine. That mule team reminded me of the old Borax soap commercials! If I remember correctly, the commercial advertised that the soap had the strength of a twenty mule team. Now that ad has more meaning to me!
 Scattered around the grounds of the fort are 17 original cabins and other structures common to that era. Below is a picture of a replica of a blockhouse typical of the ones used for protection against the Indians.
I am not sure why I took the next picture. The unusual cannon caught my eye, it was made during World War 1 and used in France. Then I started admiring the blue iris in front of it, and when my brother John wandered into the scene I decided to snap the whole scene.
Today, Monday June 7th, we are heading out of Walla Walla and bound for Alaska. Postings for this site may not be very frequent, I am just not sure about that at this point in time.

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