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Whitman Mission National Historic Site
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
The Oregon Trail at Whitman Mission
Whitman Mission National Historic Site is located in Washington
Location: Walla Walla County, Washington, USA
Nearest city: Walla Walla, Washington
Coordinates: 46°2′24″N 118°27′41″W / 46.04°N 118.46139°W / 46.04; -118.46139Coordinates: 46°2′24″N 118°27′41″W / 46.04°N 118.46139°W / 46.04; -118.46139
Built/Founded: 1836
Governing body: National Park Service
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
NRHP Reference#: 66000749


Whitman Mission National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located just west of Walla Walla, Washington, at the site of the former Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu. On November 29, 1847, the family of Dr. Marcus Whitman and others were massacred by Native Americans of the Cayuse. The site commemorates Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the role they played in establishing the Oregon Trail, and the challenges encountered when two cultures meet.


In 1836, a small group of Presbyterian missionaries traveled with the annual fur trapper's caravan into "Oregon Country". Among the group, Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding became the first white women to travel across the continent. Differences in culture led to growing tensions between the native Cayuse people and the Whitmans. Their mission became an important stop along the Oregon Trail, and passing immigrants added to the tension. A measles outbreak in 1847 killed half the local Cayuse. Some of the Cayuse blamed these deaths on Dr. Whitman. Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were killed along with eleven others; sixty other mission residents were taken hostage. The deaths of the Whitmans shocked the country, prompting Congress to make Oregon a U.S. territory, and precipitated the Cayuse War.

In more recent times, the site has been excavated for important artifacts, and then reburied. A memorial obelisk, erected fifty years after the event, stands on a nearby hill.

The historic site was established in 1936 as Whitman National Monument and was redesignated a National Historic Site on January 1, 1963.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.  

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