Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Swartout

Second Advisor

Jeanette Fregulia

Third Advisor

Julia Mull


This thesis seeks to contribute an analysis of the historical events that led to economic growth and development of Walla Walla, Washington, from the early 1800s to 1900. Various factors helped Walla Walla become established as an influential city in the Pacific Northwest. In this thesis, three major events that guided Walla Walla were studied. The first of these events came from the military influence of Fort Walla Walla, which helped set the foundations for the future city. The second event was the mining rushes through Washington, Idaho, and western Montana. Walla Walla stood as a key trading center for the region during the first two periods. In the late 1800s, Walla Walla experienced the last major event, the coming of the railroads to the Pacific Northwest. The railroads would change the course of Walla Walla‟s fate as it entered the twentieth century. This thesis explores the influence Walla Walla had on the Pacific Northwest as the area grew from unorganized lands to territories and finally into the states of today. It also examines the city‟s economic growth through each of the three events as it developed from a tent village into a recognized and historically significant city.