Fort Walla Walla Collection, 1832-1997  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Fort Walla Walla Collection
1832-1997 (inclusive)
1.7 linear feet, (1 flat box, 2 manuscript boxes)
Collection Number
The Fort Walla Walla Collection contains historical sketches, newspaper clippings, and photographs. This collection, which dates from 1832 through 1997, also includes manuscripts, and research materials related to the history of Fort Walla Walla, as well as some material from the earlier fur-trading post known as Fort Nez Perce.
Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Penrose Library, Room 130
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA
Telephone: 509-527-5922
Fax: 509-526-4785
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Fort Nez Perce, later Fort Walla Walla, was established in 1818 by the North West Company near the junction of the Walla Walla and Columbia Rivers. In 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company took over as the area continued to be claimed by Great Britain. In 1846 the boundary dispute between the U.S. and Britain was resolved and the location was found to be part of the United States due to the Oregon Treaty. However, the treaty did allow Hudson's Bay Company navigation rights on the Columbia River to supply their fur posts, and clear titles to their trading post properties allowing them to be sold later if they wanted. HBC continued to operate the Fort Nez Perces for another decade until it was abandoned at the outbreak of war with the Yakima Indians and finally burned in 1857.

The first military Fort Walla Walla was a temporary fort built in 1856 on the south side of Mill Creek, directly west of Kibler and 5 miles northeast of the growing community of Walla Walla. Col. Edward J. Steptoe supervised the building, which consisted of a blockhouse and stockade. The early name for this fort was "Fort Steptoe".

The second military Fort Walla Walla was built in October and November of 1856, on the north side of Mill Creek, 6 miles east of the junction of the Walla Walla River with Mill Creek. The compound went from the present Main Street south to the current First Avenue to about Palouse Street. This fort included barracks, stables, officer's quarters and sheds.

The third Fort Walla Walla was built the following spring in 1857 on 13th Avenue and Rose Street, adjoining the city of Walla Walla. This fort was more extensive than the previous two forts and covered 613 acres. The original buildings were made of adobe brick which were later boarded over and painted white. Along with the officers quarters and troop barracks, the fort included parade grounds, stables, a blacksmith's shop, granary, storehouse, sheds, and a saw mill. Fifteen of these "fort-era" buildings exist today.

Fort Walla Walla was formally deactivated in 1889 and abandoned in 1911. Today it is the site of the present day Fort Walla Walla park, cemetery and museum complex, as well as the Veterans Hospital and grounds.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Fort Walla Walla Collection contains assembled records relative to the military fort, including historical sketches, and printed material. This collection, which dates from 1832 through 1997, also includes newspaper clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks. There are also unpublished manuscripts and copies of letters found in various archives. Included are materials related to the earlier fort of the fur traders era (Fort Nez Perce) and to Michael Kenny's reminiscences of his experiences with Colonel Edward J. Steptoe's expedition of 1858.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Materials found in collection; provenance is unknown.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

1:  Fort Nez Perce, 1832-1871, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
"Hudsons Bay Company vs. Great Britain" – Review of The Last Great Monopoly , author unknown
1 2
Fort Walla Walla/Nez Perce newspaper clipping file
1 3
Research correspondence on Samuel Black
A clerk with the North West Company at Fort Nez Perce
1 4
From the article "Pictures from the Plains, by T.B. Thorpe which appeared in Scribner's Monthly, December 1871, article and drawing
1 5
Newspaper articles and hand-drawn maps about Fort Nez Perce
1 6
Postcard depicting highway sign "Fort Walla Walla" located on U.S. Highway 12
1 7
Excerpt about Fort Walla Walla in Indian Tribes of Washington Territory, by George Gibbs
1 8
"Stewed hare, Indian mush is fare at Fort Walla Walla" by Ted Van Arsdol
2 September 1834
1 9
"Archaeological excavations at Fort Walla Walla" by Thomas R. Garth
1 10
Newspaper file about Old Fort Walla Walla
1 11
Old Fort Walla Walla site in 1932 (4 photos)

2:  Fort Walla Walla Military Post, 1856-1997Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1: Articles and manuscripts about Fort Walla Walla history
Box Folder
1 12
"Historic Fort Soon to be Abandoned." – Sunday Oregonian
September 4, 1910
1 13
Newspaper file about Fort Walla Walla
1 14
Correspondence about releasing material from the National Archives.
1 15-16
History of Fort Walla Walla to Dec. 31, 1908 by Capt. F.H. Pope [Original and three copies]
31 December 1908
1 17
Fort Walla Walla research file by Steve Plucker
1 18
Typewritten copy of letter of October 10, 1858 from Michael Kenny describing battles of Steptoe and Wright. Walla Walla Union-Bulletin article regarding letter, October 9, 1966
1 19
Article in Walla Walla Sunday Union-Statesman containing Capt. Francis H. Pope's Fort Walla Walla History
1 20
Document naming Thomas Corn Chief Trumpeter at Fort Walla Walla
1 21
Letter of introduction for Mis-ta-kai –ya-wa written by Col. E.J. Steptoe
2 1
Two drafts of military reports to Cmdr. At Fort WW by Capt. William N. Grier
August 31, 1860 and February 14, 1861
2 2
3 letters from Fort Walla Walla personnel; Col. E. Godwin and Capt. H. Gray
2 3
Steptoe expedition (first) typed and signed by Michael Kenny
2 4
A Survey of the flora of Fort Walla Walla by Terese Neu Richmond
2 5
Archaeological excavation of dump site. Report and newspaper articles
2 6
Fort Walla Walla in the Early Days by A.B. Roberts, early Walla Walla resident.
2 7
Program, Veterans Day Centennial Observance
November 11, 1957
2 8
Newspaper clipping file
2 9
Invitations to receptions, dances, etc.
2 10
Walla Walla Statesman article on abandonment of Fort
December 24, 1897
2 11
Documents pertaining to transfer of ownership of land now occupied by Fort Walla Walla museum
June 15, 1976
2 12
Research file for Mr. Utley, National Park Service
2 13
Copy of handwritten document re: fort
A History of Fort Walla Walla, by Fred R. Owen, Whitman College, Walla Walla
Hay and Straw Contracts Ledger
2 29-61
Copies of Congressional Documents pertaining to Fort Walla Walla
The Forts Walla Walla: A History of Their Influence: A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, by Sandra L. Gross
May 23, 1989
Archaeological Investigations at Fort Walla Walla, Center for Northwest Anthropolgy booklet, by Sappington and Wyss,
December 1988
Documents prepared to place Fort Walla Walla on the National Register of Historic Places
November 8, 1969
2: Photographs of Officers and their families
Box Folder
2 14
Mrs. Wainwright, wife of Lieutenant Wainwright
2 15
Helen Serrill Wainwright and daughter Helen
2 16
Lieutenant R.P. Page Wainwright
2 17
Anna Abbott Miller, wife of Major W.H. Miller
2 18
Anna Abbott Miller, wife of Major W.H. Miller
2 19
Anna Abbott Miller and son Harlan
2 20
Helen and Jessie Wainwright, daughters of Mrs. And Lieutenant R.P. Wainwright
2 21
Mahew Wainwright, son of R.P. Wainwright
2 22
Fort Walla Walla Cemetery
circa 1890
2 23
Harry Bontelle, son of Captain Bontelle
2 24
Mrs. Adams, wife of Captain J.G. Adams
2 25
Harlan Miller, son of Major and Mrs. Miller
2 26
Two sheets of unidentified negative images
2 27
Parade on grounds; band and troops
2 28
Fort Walla Walla Cemetery. Color, sign and view of markers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Corporate Names

  • Fort Walla Walla (Wash.)

Geographical Names

  • Walla Walla (Wash.)