Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla, Washington

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Walla Walla, Washington
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =Walla Walla business district with historic Marcus Whitman hotel visible to the left.



mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Walla Walla, Washington

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Washington
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Walla Walla

government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 28.1
area_land_km2 = 28.0
area_water_km2 = 0.0
area_total_sq_mi = 10.8
area_land_sq_mi = 10.8
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 29686
population_density_km2 = 1059.8
population_density_sq_mi = 2744.9

timezone = Pacific (PST)
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 287
elevation_ft = 942
latd = 46 |latm = 3 |lats = 54 |latNS = N
longd = 118 |longm = 19 |longs = 49 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 99362
area_code = 509
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 53-75775GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1512769GR|3
website =
footnotes =

Walla Walla is both the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, and the county's largest city. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 29,686GR|6. Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately five hours by car from Seattle, Washington and thirteen miles from 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. In addition, Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.

Walla Walla is famous for its sweet onions. Many wineries are located in the area and it is a popular vacation spot for wine enthusiasts.


On September 1, 1836, Marcus Whitman arrived with his wife Narcissa Whitman. 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. The original Fort Walla Walla, a major stopping point for migrants moving West, has been preserved with many of the original buildings. 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.

Walla Walla, where it adjoins the Columbia River, was the starting point for the Mullan Road, constructed between 1859 and 1860 by US Army Lieut. John Mullen, connecting the head of navigation on the Columbia at Walla Walla (i.e., the west coast of the US) with the head of navigation on the Missouri-Mississippi (that is, the east and gulf coasts of the US) at Fort Benton, Montana.

Walla Walla was officially incorporated on January 11, 1862. As a result of a gold rush, 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 still stands in the southern part of the city. Following this period of rapid growth, agriculture became the city's primary industry.

On January 4, 2008, the city was hit with a vicious windstorm toppling many trees. [http://www.union-bulletin.com/articles/2008/01/04/local_news/local01.txt] Radio communication during the storm indicated that much, if not all, of the city was without power.

Further reading

*cite book|author=MacGibbon, Elma|title=Leaves of knowledge|publisher=Shaw & Borden Co|year=1904 [http://www.secstate.wa.gov/history/publications%5Fdetail.aspx?p=63 Available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection] Elma MacGibbons reminiscences of her travels in the United States starting in 1898, which were mainly in Oregon and Washington. Includes chapter "Walla Walla and southeastern Washington."


Though wheat is still a big crop, vineyards and wineries have become economically important over the last two 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 early 1900s hotels, was recently renovated with its original fixtures and furnitures. It is the tallest building in the city, reaching thirteen stories.

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 carefully hand selecting onions from each year's crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size and round shape. The Walla Walla Sweet Onion is also designated under federal law as a protected agricultural crop. In 2007, the Walla Walla Sweet Onion became Washington's official state vegetable.

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. That, combined with Walla Walla’s mild climate and rich soil, gives the onion its sweetness. The Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival is held annually in July.

From asparagus and corn to cherries and strawberries, Walla Walla growers produce produce that is available to visitors at the farmers' market from May until October; located on the corner of 4th and Main. A selection of bakery treats, flowers and plants, creative arts, and craft items are also on sale at the farmers' market open 9:00am to 1:00pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Another historic creation that occurred in Walla Walla, specifically at Whitman College, was the birth of the trading card game known as . Dr. Richard Garfield, the creator of the card game, came to teach at Whitman College in 1993. He worked in his spare time with local volunteer playtesters to help refine the game during the 1993 school year. After releasing the game publicly, he worked with Wizards of the Coast.

In 1972, Walla Walla established a sister city relationship with Sasayama, Japan.

Wine industry

Walla Walla has experienced an explosion in its wine industry over the last two decades. Producing some of the finest American wines, Walla Walla is quickly becoming a destination for wine connoisseurs the world over. 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. They have been joined by many noteworthy producers like Walla Walla Village Winery, Cayuse Vineyards, Spring Valley Vineyards, Waterbrook Winery, Forgeron Cellars, Tamarack Cellars, Seven Hills Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery, Amavi Cellars, and Walla Walla Vintners as well as dozens more smaller wineries. 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. 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 capitalizes on the opportunity to market the wine industry. The school offers an associate's degree in winemaking through its 4-year-old Institute of Enology and Viticulture, which operates its own commercial winery.

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 last one, in 2004, destroyed about 75% of the wine grape crop in the valley.

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

Corrections industry

The largest prison in Washington is the Washington State Penitentiary located in Walla Walla. Originally opened in 1887, it now houses about 2000 offenders. 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, though the last execution took place in 2001. The penitentiary is undergoing an extensive expansion project that will increase the prison population to 2,500 violent offenders and double the staff size.


Transportation to Walla Walla includes service by air through Walla Walla Regional Airport and highway access primarily from U.S. Route 12. 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, Washington and Walla Walla. The city is also served by a local bus system.

Terminology coined in Walla Walla

Proud residents of the town often brag about it as "the town so nice they named it twice." [ [http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=nwwwallawalla23&date=20041223&query=town+nice+named+twice Travel & Outdoors | Here's to you, Walla Walla | Seattle Times Newspaper ] ] Walla Walla is a Native American name that means "Place of Many Waters." The original name of the town was Steptoeville named after Colonel Steptoe. [ [http://www.nwsource.com/travel/scr/tf_detail.cfm?dt=3290 NWsource: Travel - Walla Walla, Washington Introduction : Overview ] ]

Geography and climate

Walla Walla is located at coor dms|46|3|54|N|118|19|49|W|city (46.065094w, -118.330167e)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.8 square miles (28.0 km²), of which, 10.8 square miles (28.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.18%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000 , there are 29,686 people, 10,596 households, and 6,527 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,744.9 people per square mile (1,059.3/km²). According to the census there are 11,400 housing units at an average density of 1,054.1/sq mi (406.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 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. 17.42% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. These are not entirely accurate numbers as the local population has a large number of Hispanic migrant workers who work on asparagus and onion farms. Fact|date=February 2007

Of the 10,596 counted households, 30.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% are married couples living together, 11.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% are considered non-families by the U.S. government. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.08.

In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 women there are 108.4 men. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 109.1 males. About 89% of the population is Christian.

The median income for a household in the city is $31,855, and the median income for a family is $40,856. Men have a median income of $31,753 versus $23,889 for women. The per capita income for the city is $15,792. 18.0% of the population and 13.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 22.8% of those under the age of 18 and 10.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Uses in popular culture

Among references in popular culture, Walla Walla is mentioned in two different Warner Bros. cartoons. The city is said to be the location for the headquarters of the fictional Little Giant Vacuum Cleaner Company in the 1953 animated short film "A Mouse Divided". In the Merrie Melodies short "Transylvania 6-5000", which was released ten years later, the name of the city is used as a magic incantation by Bugs Bunny to change a vampire into a two-headed vulture.

American punk rock band The Offspring also wrote a song called Walla Walla about the nearby state penitentiary in "Americana", their fifth album.


External links

* [http://www.wwvchamber.com/ Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.wallawalla.org/ Walla Walla Tourism]
* [http://www.ci.walla-walla.wa.us/ City of Walla Walla]
* [http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=414923 City of Walla Walla v. Walla Walla Water Company (U.S. Supreme Court Decision, 1898)]
* [http://www.union-bulletin.com/ Walla Walla Union-Bulletin]
* [https://www.washington.edu/regents/aboutregents/bios/barer.html Regent Stanley H. Barer biography]


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