Walla Walla (wŏlˈə wŏlˈə) [key], city (2006 est. pop. 30,945), seat of Walla Walla co., SE Wash., at the junction of the Walla Walla River and Mill Creek, near the Oreg. line; inc. 1862. It is a trade, processing, and distribution center for a fertile farm and lumber area. Fruits and vegetables (especially green peas and sweet onions) are canned and frozen in plants there, grain is processed for animal feeds, and wine is produced. Manufactures include cans, pesticides, packaging machinery, archery supplies, irrigation equipment, and plumbing fixtures. There is logging and the production of pulp, paper, and wood products. By the early 21st cent. Walla Walla also had a flourishing wine industry, with more than 100 vineyards in and around the city. This and a revitalized downtown area has made it a tourist hub.
The old fur-trading Fort Walla Walla (Fort Nez Perce) was established downstream on the Columbia River at the site of modern-day Wallula in 1818; the mission of Marcus Whitman was built (1836) nearby modern Walla Walla. Wagon trains began bringing settlers in the 1840s, and Steptoeville (later Walla Walla) grew around the U.S. military Fort Walla Walla (est. 1856). The name was changed when the settlement became county seat in 1859. Walla Walla is a district headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is also the seat of Whitman College, Walla Walla Univ., and the state penitentiary. The Whitman mission nearby has been restored as a national historic site.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.