Walla Walla, Washington facts for kids

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See also: Walla Walla|Walla Walla (disambiguation)|Walla Walla
Walla Walla, Washington
City
City of Walla Walla
Reynolds-Day Building, Sterling Bank, and Baker Boyer Bank buildings in downtown Walla Walla.
Reynolds-Day Building, Sterling Bank, and Baker Boyer Bank buildings in downtown Walla Walla.
Location of Walla Walla, Washington
Location of Walla Walla, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Walla Walla
Area
 • City 12.84 sq mi (33.26 km2)
 • Land 12.81 sq mi (33.18 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
Elevation 942 ft (287 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 31,731
 • Estimate (2015) 32,237
 • Density 2,477.0/sq mi (956.4/km2)
 • Urban 55,805 (US: 464th)
 • Metro 64,282 (US: 379th)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP code 99362
Area code 509
FIPS code 53-75775
GNIS feature ID 1512769
Website City of Walla Walla

Walla Walla is the largest city in 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 and a half hours away by car from Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and thirteen miles north of the Oregon border.

History

Recorded history in this state begins with 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. At the time, the term "Nez Perce" was used more broadly than today, and included the Walla Walla in its scope in English usage. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. Following this period of rapid growth, agriculture became the city's primary industry.

Walla walla
Fort Walla Walla - 1874
8922BankExterior-BBB MainStWll2WACpyrtSm
Baker Boyer Bank building, built in 1911

Ecclesiastical History

Former bishopric

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.) Blanchet arrived on September 5 of that year, but the Whitman 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.

Titular see

In 1971, the diocese was nominally restored as Titular bishopric of the lowest (Episcopal) rank, and since had six, mostly consecutive incumbents:

  • Eugene Antonio Marino, Society of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Josephites, S.S.J.) (1974.07.12 – 1988.03.14) (later Metropolitan Archbishop of Atlanta)
  • Bernard William Schmitt (1988.05.27 – 1989.03.29)
  • Paul Albert Zipfel (1989.05.16 – 1996.12.31)
  • James Edward Fitzgerald (2002.01.11 – 2003.09.11)
  • Mitchell Thomas Rozanski (2004.07.03 – 2014.06.19)
  • Witold Mroziewski, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn (NYC, USA) (2015.05.19 – ...)

Etymology

Tourists to Walla Walla are often told that locals call it "the town so nice they named it twice". It is a very nice town, however, very few locals actually use this slogan. 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. In 1855 the name was changed to Waiilatpu, and then by 1859 had been changed again, this time to the name it holds today.

Geography and climate

Walla Walla is located at 46°3′54″N 118°19′49″W / 46.065°N 118.33028°W / 46.065; -118.33028 (46.065094, −118.330167).

Walla Walla is also located 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 (48 km) west of town. The city lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, so annual precipitation is fairly low.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.84 square miles (33.26 km2), of which 12.81 square miles (33.18 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.

Walla Walla has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate according to the Köppen climate classification system (Köppen Csa). It is one of the northernmost locations in North America to qualify as having such a climate. In contrast to most other locations having this climate type in North America, Walla Walla can experience fairly cold winter conditions.

Climate data for Walla Walla, Washington (Walla Walla Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
(21.1)
75
(23.9)
79
(26.1)
96
(35.6)
100
(37.8)
113
(45)
114
(45.6)
114
(45.6)
104
(40)
89
(31.7)
80
(26.7)
68
(20)
114
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 41.6
(5.33)
46.5
(8.06)
55.8
(13.22)
63.2
(17.33)
71.2
(21.78)
79.6
(26.44)
89.6
(32)
88.6
(31.44)
78.2
(25.67)
64.1
(17.83)
48.9
(9.39)
38.9
(3.83)
63.85
(17.694)
Average low °F (°C) 30.6
(-0.78)
32.5
(0.28)
37.7
(3.17)
42.3
(5.72)
48.5
(9.17)
54.7
(12.61)
61.2
(16.22)
61.1
(16.17)
52.7
(11.5)
43.3
(6.28)
35.5
(1.94)
28.5
(-1.94)
44.05
(6.694)
Record low °F (°C) -18
(-27.8)
-16
(-26.7)
4
(-15.6)
20
(-6.7)
26
(-3.3)
36
(2.2)
40
(4.4)
42
(5.6)
32
(0)
19
(-7.2)
-11
(-23.9)
-24
(-31.1)
-24
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.13
(54.1)
1.75
(44.5)
2.30
(58.4)
1.81
(46)
2.11
(53.6)
1.28
(32.5)
0.61
(15.5)
0.60
(15.2)
0.71
(18)
1.59
(40.4)
2.65
(67.3)
2.15
(54.6)
19.69
(500.1)
Snowfall inches (cm) 3.1
(7.9)
3.1
(7.9)
0.9
(2.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
1.4
(3.6)
4.7
(11.9)
13.3
(33.8)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 13.0 10.5 12.3 10.2 9.6 7.3 3.2 2.7 3.9 7.8 13.9 13.2 107.6
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.5 1.7 0.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 1.0 3.3 9.3
Sunshine hours 50.4 83.4 173.8 221.7 288.5 326.3 384.5 344.4 268.8 199.2 67.8 40.3 2,449.2
Source: NOAA

source 2= weather.com

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,394
1880 3,588 157.4%
1890 4,709 31.2%
1900 10,049 113.4%
1910 19,364 92.7%
1920 15,503 −19.9%
1930 15,976 3.1%
1940 18,109 13.4%
1950 24,102 33.1%
1960 24,536 1.8%
1970 23,619 −3.7%
1980 25,618 8.5%
1990 26,478 3.4%
2000 29,686 12.1%
2010 31,731 6.9%
Est. 2015 32,237 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 31,731 people, 11,537 households, and 6,834 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,477.0 inhabitants per square mile (956.4/km2). There were 12,514 housing units at an average density of 976.9 per square mile (377.2/km2). 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.

Fine and performing arts

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

  • The Walla Walla Symphony began in 1906 and performs a season of about six concerts per year at Whitman College's Cordiner Hall.
  • 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.
  • 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. The venue is used by Shakespeare Walla Walla as well as host to various concerts and other performing arts events throughout the year.
  • The Walla Walla Choral Society began in 1980 and performs a season of three or four concerts per year in various locations around the Walla Walla Valley.
  • Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater is an open-air stage with bench seating on the grounds of the Fort Walla Walla Park, next to Fort Walla Walla Museum. It used to host Shakespeare Walla Walla productions and now hosts the Walla Walla Community College Summer Musical.

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.

Miscellanea

Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.

In 2001 Walla Walla was a Great American Main Street Award winner for the transformation and preservation of its once dilapidated main street. In July 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small city in the United States. 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.

Walla Walla is famous for its sweet onions. There are more than 100 wineries in or near Walla Walla.

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 since 1994 for a two-week home stay experience. One year high school student exchanges between the cities have occurred several times in the past. Cultural/art exchanges involving music, dance, and various art mediums have also occurred. Walla Walla Sister City Committee has been recipient of the Washington State Sister City Association Peace Prize in 2011 and 2014 for their involvement of promoting peace, cultural understanding and friendship.

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