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Snippet from Wikipedia: Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla is the largest city and the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, United States.

The population of the city itself was 31,731 at the 2010 census. The population of Walla Walla and its two suburbs, the town of College Place and unincorporated East Walla Walla, is about 45,000. Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours away by car from Portland, Oregon, and four and half hours from Seattle, and only 6 mi (10 km) north of the Oregon border.


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Walla Walla is the largest city in and the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, United States.

The population of the town itself was 31,731 at the 2010 census. The population of Walla Walla and its two suburbs, the town of College Place and unincorporated “East Walla Walla,” is about 45,000.<ref>

</ref> Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours by car from Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and thirteen miles north of the Oregon border.

Whitman College, Walla Walla Community College, and the Washington State Penitentiary are located in Walla Walla. Walla Walla University is located in nearby College Place, Washington. Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.

Walla Walla has received many civic awards since 2000. In 2001 Walla Walla was a Great American Main Street Award winner for the transformation and preservation of its once dilapidated main street.<ref>

</ref> In July 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small town in the United States.<ref>

</ref> Walla Walla was also named Friendliest Small Town in America the same year as part of Rand McNally's annual Best of the Road contest. In 2012 and 2013 Walla Walla was a runner-up in the best food category for the Best of the Road.<ref>



Walla Walla is famous for its sweet onions, and, more recently, wine. There are more than 100 wineries in or near Walla Walla.<ref>




The establishment of Fort Nez Perce in 1818 by the North West Company to trade with the Walla Walla people and other local Native American groups begins recorded history in this region. At the time, the term “Nez Perce” was used more broadly than today, and included the Walla Walla in its scope in English usage.<ref>Alvin M. Josephy, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, Abridged Edition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 51</ref> Fort Nez Perce had its name shift to Fort Walla Walla. It was located significantly west of the present city.

On September 1, 1836, Marcus Whitman arrived with his wife Narcissa Whitman.<ref>

</ref> Here they established the Whitman Mission in an unsuccessful attempt to convert the local Walla Walla tribe to Christianity. Following a disease epidemic, both were killed by the Cayuse who believed that the missionaries were poisoning the native peoples. Whitman College was established in their honor.

In 1846, the Catholic Church established the Diocese of Walla Walla, with Augustin-Magloire Blanchet as its bishop. (The Latin adjective, not the noun, used by the Roman Curia to refer to Walla Walla is Valle-Valliensis.)<ref>Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88=209-9070-1), p. 1010, where the Diocese of Walla Walla is listed among titular sees.</ref> Blanchet arrived on September 5 of that year, but the Whitmore massacre of November 29, 1847 led to an uneasy relationship between him, the native Cayuse people, and the United States government, as a result of which he left for St. Paul in the Willamette Valley. In 1850 the see of Walla Walla was abandoned and its territory assigned to the new Diocese of Nesqually (later spelled “Nisqually”), with Blanchet as its bishop and its episcopal see in Vancouver.<ref>


The original North West Company and later Hudson's Bay Company Fort Nez Percés fur trading outpost, became a major stopping point for migrants moving west to Oregon Country. The fort has been restored with many of the original buildings preserved. The current Fort Walla Walla contains these buildings, albeit in a different location from the original, as well as a museum about the early settlers' lives.

The origins of Walla Walla at its present site begin with the establishment of Fort Walla Walla by the United States Army here in 1856.<ref>Josephy, The Nez Perce, p. 367</ref> The Walla Walla River, where it adjoins the Columbia River, was the starting point for the Mullan Road, constructed between 1859 and 1860 by US Army Lieut. John Mullan, connecting the head of navigation on the Columbia at Walla Walla (i.e., the west coast of the United States) with the head of navigation on the Missouri-Mississippi (that is, the east and gulf coasts of the U.S.) at Fort Benton, Montana.

Walla Walla was incorporated on January 11, 1862.<ref>

</ref> As a result of a gold rush in Idaho, during this decade the city became the largest community in the territory of Washington, at one point slated to be the new state's capital. The former Governor's mansion stands at 925 East Isaacs Avenue. Following this period of rapid growth, agriculture became the city's primary industry.

building, built in 1911]]

Geography and climate

Walla Walla is located at

(46.065094, −118.330167).

Walla Walla is situated in the Walla Walla Valley with the rolling Palouse hills and the Blue Mountains to the east of town. Various creeks meander through town before combining to become the Walla Walla River which drains into the Columbia River about 30 miles west of town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of

, of which,

is land and

is water.<ref name =“Gazetteer files”>



</ref> source 2=<ref>



</ref><br>2012 Estimate<ref>

</ref></center> }}

2010 census

As of the census<ref name =“FactFinder”>

</ref> of 2010, there were 31,731 people, 11,537 households, and 6,834 families residing in the city. The population density was

. There were 12,514 housing units at an average density of

. The racial makeup of the city was 81.6% White, 2.7% African American, 1.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 9.1% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.0% of the population.

There were 11,537 households of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were other forms of households. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 22% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.9% male and 48.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 29,686 people, 10,596 households, and 6,527 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,744.9 people per square mile (1,059.3/km2). There were 11,400 housing units at an average density of 1,054.1 per square mile (406.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.79% White, 2.58% African American, 1.05% Native American, 1.24% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 8.26% from other races, and 2.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.42% of the population.

There were 10,596 households of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were other forms of households. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,855, and the median income for a family was $40,856. Men had a median income of $31,753 versus $23,889 for women. The per capita income for the city was $15,792. About 13.1% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.8% of those under the age of 18 and 10.5% of those aged 65 and older.

Economy and infrastructure


Though wheat is still a big crop, vineyards and wineries have become economically important over the last three decades. In summer 2006, there were over 100 wineries in the greater Walla Walla area. Following the wine boom, the town has developed several top-tier restaurants and hotels. The Marcus Whitman Hotel, one of Washington's finest 1920s hotels, was renovated with original fixtures and furnitures. It is the tallest building in the city, at thirteen storeys.

The Walla Walla Sweet Onion is another crop with a rich tradition. Over a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy, a French soldier named Peter Pieri found an Italian sweet onion seed and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. Impressed by the new onion's winter hardiness, Pieri, and the Italian immigrant farmers who comprised much of Walla Walla's gardening industry, harvested the seed. The sweet onion developed over several generations through the process of selecting onions from each year's crop, targeting sweetness, size, and round shape. The Walla Walla Sweet Onion is designated under federal law as a protected agricultural crop. In 2007 the Walla Walla Sweet Onion became Washington's official state vegetable.<ref>


Walla Walla Sweet Onions get their sweetness from low sulfur content, which is half that of an ordinary yellow onion. Walla Walla Sweets are 90 percent water.

The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival is held annually in July.

Walla Walla currently has two farmer's markets. Both are held from May until October. One is located on the corner of 4th and Main in downtown. It is coordinated by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation. The other is at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds on S. Ninth Ave, run by the WW Valley Farmer's Market.<ref>


Wine industry

Walla Walla has experienced an explosion in its wine industry over the last ten years. Several of the wineries have received top scores from wine publications such as Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate and Wine and Spirits. L'Ecole 41, Woodward Canyon and Leonetti Cellar were the pioneers starting in the 1970s and 1980s. Although most of the early recognition went to the wines made from Merlot and Cabernet, Syrah is fast becoming a star varietal in this appellation.<ref name=“Walla Walla Valley Wine”>Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance website -</ref> Today there are over 100 wineries in the Walla Walla Valley and a host of shops catering to the wine industry.

Walla Walla Community College offers an associate's degree (AAAS) in winemaking and grape growing through its 10-year-old Center for Enology and Viticulture, which operates its own commercial winery, College Cellars.<ref name=“College Cellars”>College Cellars website -</ref>

One challenge to growing grapes in Walla Walla Valley is the risk of a killing freeze during the winter. They average one every six or seven years and the penultimate one, in 2004, destroyed about 75% of the wine grape crop in the valley. The valley was again hit with a killing frost in November 2010, leading to a 28% decline in Cabernet Sauvignon production, a 20% decline in red grape production, and an overall decline in production of 11% (red and white varietals).<ref name=“Washington Wine Report”>Sean Sullivan's Washington Wine Report -</ref>

The wineries generate over $100 million (US) to the valley annually.

Corrections industry

The second largest prison in Washington, after nearby Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility in Connell, is the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) located in Walla Walla, at 1313 North 13th. Originally opened in 1887, it now houses about 2000 offenders.<ref>

</ref> In addition, there are about 1000 staff members. In 2005, the financial benefit to the local economy was estimated to be about $55 million through salaries, medical services, utilities, and local purchases. Washington is a death penalty state, and occasional executions take place at the state pen; the last execution took place on September 10, 2010.<ref>

</ref> Washington is also one of two states to still allow hanging as a choice when sentenced to death<ref>

</ref> (the other being Delaware), there has not been a hanging since May 1994 (the default method of execution was changed to lethal injection in 1996). The penitentiary is undergoing an extensive expansion project that will increase the prison capacity to 2,500 violent offenders and double the staff size.<ref>


Health Care

Walla Walla is served by three health care institutions: Walla Walla General Hospital (part of the Adventist Health System), St. Mary Medical Center (part of the Catholic Providence Heath System) and the Jonathan M. Wainwright Veteran's Affairs (VA) Medical Center on the grounds of the old Fort Walla Walla.


Transportation to Walla Walla includes service by air through Walla Walla Regional Airport and highway access primarily from U.S. Route 12. The Washington State Department of Transportation is now engaged in a long-term process of widening this road into a four-lane divided highway between Pasco and Walla Walla. Washington Highway 125/Oregon Highway 11 runs between Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater, OR.

There are three major bus services in the area connecting the region's cities. Walla Walla and nearby College Place, WA are served by Valley Transit, a typical multi-route city bus service. The city of Milton-Freewater, OR has a single-line bus service with several stops in town with two stops in College Place and five in Walla Walla. Finally the Grape Line shuttle runs a 104 mile loop between Walla Walla and Pasco three times a day.

Great Places in America: Downtown Walla Walla

In 2012, the American Planning Association (APA) designated the downtown Walla Walla WA area a “Great Places in America: Neighborhood”. When evaluating the application from the City, the APA noted that what the community at large had achieved since 1980 was “nothing short of profound”. This national award recognized the successful ongoing planning efforts started by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation (1984); formed by grassroots activists with support from residents, businesses, public officials and special interest groups to resuscitate downtown (APA).

This “great neighborhood” is bounded by Highway 12 to the north; Park Street to the east; Birch and Willow streets to the south; and 7th Avenue to the west. The charm of this neighborhood is the iconic architecture that ranges from Beaux- Arts to Art Moderne and nearly every style in-between since 1850. Among the neighborhood's iconic buildings are the Marcus Whitman Hotel (1906), the Interurban Depot Building (1909), the Baker Boyer Bank (1911), and the U.S. Post Office (1914) (APA).

A privately funded $35 million renovation of the Marcus Whitman Hotel in 2001 brought luxury rooms, a new conference center, and 30,000 square feet of office space to downtown Walla Walla. With more than $50 million in private and public funds, city officials embarked on rejuvenating 300 neighborhood buildings; implementing sustainable practices such as regularly planting of street trees for aesthetic value and cooling effect during summer; strengthening and expanding downtown neighborhood's pedestrian orientation and local public space network. Their success even shows in the Arbor Day Foundation designation of Walla Walla as a “Tree City” for the past 18 years. With this revitalized neighborhood, the City has experienced exponential growth of the region's newly established wine industry that now generates $100 million a year for the city and region (APA).


Walla Walla is home of the Walla Walla Sweets, a summer collegiate baseball team that plays in the West Coast League. The league comprises college players and prospects working towards a professional baseball career. Teams are located in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington. Sweets home games have been played at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla, since their first season in 2010. In only their second season the Sweets played in the WCL Championship game, ultimately losing to the Corvallis Knights. In 2013, the Sweets won their first North Division title with the second best win-loss record in the WCL. Unfortunately, the Sweets lost their North Division playoff series to the Wenatchee Applesox that year.

There also is a women's flat track roller derby league called the Walla Walla Sweets Rollergirls, their practices and games are played at the Walla Walla YMCA.

Walla Walla is the location of Tour of Walla Walla. It is an annual four-stage road cycling race held in April. The races are held in Walla Walla and in the Palouse hills of nearby Waitsburg, WA. The stages include two road races, a time trial, and a criterium race.<ref>


Finally, there is the annual Walla Walla Marathon which includes a full marathon, half-marathon, and 10k race. The full marathon is a Boston Marathon Qualifier.<ref>

</ref> It is held in October of each year and the race route winds through the streets of the city of Walla Walla and the country roads outside of town, often running past several of the region's many estate vineyards.

Fine and performing arts

The Walla Walla Valley boasts a number of fine and performing arts organizations and venues.

  • The Walla Walla Valley Bands were formed in 1989 and currently boasts a Concert Band of more than 70, two Jazz Ensembles, Sax Quartet and Jazz Trio. The group provides the large group music ensembles for Walla Walla Community College and rehearses there weekly on Tuesday nights.
  • The Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival is held twice a year and features guest musical ensembles playing classical chamber music in various small venues throughout town. The summer festival includes performances for almost the whole month of June. The winter festival is a small-scale version of the summer program, it is held in mid-January.<ref>


  • Shakespeare Walla Walla is a non-profit organization that hosts a summer Shakespeare festival in Walla Walla. They often bring Shakespeare troupes from Seattle and elsewhere to perform about four plays per year. In the past this was done at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater, but more recently at the GESA Powerhouse Theatre.<ref>


  • The GESA Powerhouse Theatre opened in 2011 in Walla Walla; it was originally the Walla Walla gas plant, hence its name. Its dimensions closely resemble the Blackfriars Theatre once used by William Shakespeare.<ref>

    </ref> The venue is used by Shakespeare Walla Walla as well as host to various concerts and other performing arts events throughout the year.

  • The Little Theatre of Walla Walla began in 1944 and moved into its current building on Sumach St. in 1948 where it has performed various plays to this day.<ref>


In addition, the area's three colleges—Whitman College, Walla Walla University and Walla Walla Community College as well as its largest public high school—Walla Walla High School—are well known for their outstanding theater and music performances.


Walla Walla is primarily served by the Walla Walla Public Schools, which includes six elementary schools, two middle schools, one traditional high school (colloquially Wa-Hi), and one alternative high school (Lincoln). There is also Homelink, an alternative K-8 education program which is a hybrid of home schooling and public school programs.<ref>


There are several private Christian schools in the area. These include:

In addition to these, there are three colleges in the area:

Sister cities

In 1972, Walla Walla established a sister city relationship with Sasayama, Japan. The two cities have since named roads after their counterpart sister city. Walla Walla also hosted exchange students from Sasayama in 2011 and 2012, the later occurrence, in part, for the forty year anniversary of the pairing. Students have been exchanged between the cities several times in the past.<ref>




Proud residents of the town often brag about it as “the town so nice they named it twice”.<ref>

</ref> Walla Walla is a Native American name that means “Place of Many Waters”. The original name of the town was Steptoeville named after Colonel Edward Steptoe.<ref>


Notable people

  • Burl Barer, Broadcaster, Author, and strong social media presence, was a 1965 graduate of Walla Walla High School.
  • NFL Quarterback Drew Bledsoe lived in Walla Walla while he was in high school before entering Washington State University in 1990. He was the first pick in the NFL draft in 1993, going to the New England Patriots, where he played until 2001. He later played for the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys before retiring in 2007.
  • Walter Brattain Nobel prize winner and co-inventor of the transistor, was an alumnus of Whitman College and later a professor at that institution.
  • Wallace R. Brode, scientist, was born in Walla Walla in 1900.
  • Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (2007–2009), and Pakistan (2004–2007), and who also served as Ambassador to Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon, graduated from Whitman College in 1971.<ref>U.S. Department of State,</ref>
  • Alex Deccio, politician, was born in Walla Walla.
  • William O. Douglas attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, graduating in 1920. He went on to become the longest-serving justice in the history of the United States Supreme Court.
  • Softball pitcher Eddie Feigner toured the country with a four-man team, known as “The King and His Court,” playing before large crowds and being hailed as “the greatest softball pitcher of all time.” He was born in Walla Walla.
  • Silent film actor and studio makeup artist, Bert Hadley, was born in Walla Walla.
  • NFL wide receiver Charly Martin was born in Walla Walla in 1984.<ref>404 Error<!-- Bot generated title --></ref>
  • Edward P. Morgan, Award Winning National journalist. Worked for CBS, ABC, PBS and various newspapers around the country.
  • Lebanese poet, writer, and philosopher Mikha'il Na'ima, author of “The Book of Mirdad”, began his writing career in Walla Walla in 1919.
  • American counterculture poet and publisher Charles Potts
  • Actor Connor Trinneer, from Enterprise, was born in Walla Walla.
  • United States Army general and World War&nbsp;II hero Jonathan Wainwright was born in Walla Walla.
  • The actor Adam West, TV's Batman, grew up in Walla Walla. Then known as Bill Anderson, he attended Walla Walla High School during his freshman and sophomore years before moving with his family to Seattle. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and a minor in Psychology from Whitman College in Walla Walla.
  • American scholar of Islam and author - voted one of the West's most influential Muslim scholars by The Guardian - Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, was born in Walla Walla.



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  • The trading card game The Gathering was created at Whitman College during the 1993 school year.
  • American punk rock band The Offspring also wrote a song called “Walla Walla” about the nearby state penitentiary, on Americana, their fifth album.
  • Jazz singer Nellie Lutcher had a 78-rpm release in the 1940s entitled “Wish I Was in Walla Walla”. The song was written by Sharon A. Pease.
  • Hip hop record producer 9th Wonder released a song called “WallaWallaJammin!!!” on his solo album Tutankhamen in 2012.
  • Among references in popular culture, Walla Walla is mentioned in many different Warner Bros. cartoons, and the fictional Acme Corporation in the Looney Tunes cartoons:
    • In an animated short film featuring the character Daffy Duck, the city is said to be the location for the headquarters of the fictional “Wishy Washy Washing-Machine Company”.
    • In the 1953 animated short film A Mouse Divided the city is said to be the location for the headquarters of the fictional “Little Giant Vacuum Cleaner Company”.
    • In the 1955 animated short film Heir-Conditioned the city is said to be the location of the headquarters of the fictional “Hi-Ho Silver Cleaning Company”.
  • In the Three Stooges story “Cash And Carry”, the trio are sold a fake treasure map with an X placed on Walla Walla. Uncertain they are in the right place, Curly reassures them by pointing at the walls. “There's a walla, and there's another walla!”
  • The gibberish incantation in David Seville's song “Witch Doctor” includes the words “Walla Walla”. Seville has said that while trying to come up with the words, he thought of the name of the town, which his uncle had recently moved to.<ref>


  • In several episodes of the PBS series Arthur, Walla Walla is mentioned in passing.
  • In an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, comedian Ryan Stiles (born in Seattle) references Walla Walla during a game of Scenes from a Hat where performers had to give examples of U.S. cities that would never have a song written about them. His song was “We wuv woo Walla Walla, Washington. We wuv woo Walla Walla, Washington.”
  • Children's author Andrew Clements wrote a book called Double Trouble in Walla Walla.
  • Comedian Mike Birbiglia details his experience at a Walla Walla hotel in his one-man show and bestselling book of the same name, Sleepwalk with Me
  • In the Simpsons episode Homie the Clown, Krusty lists Walla Walla as a city in America with a funny-sounding name.
  • An episode of Deadliest Catch (6/11/13) Captain Scott Campbell Jr visited his father at St. Mary's Hospital in the city.

See also


Further reading

  • Bennett, Robert A. Walla Walla: Portrait of a Western Town, 1804-1899. Walla Walla: Frontier Press Books, c. 1980.
  • Gilbert, Frank T. Historic Sketches: Walla Walla, Columbia and Garfield Counties, Washington Territory. Portland, Oregon: A.G. Walling Printing
walla_walla_washington.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:39 (external edit)