Walla Walla is the largest city in and the county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, United States. The population was 31,731 at the 2010 census. Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours by car from Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington and thirteen miles from the Oregon border.
Whitman College, Walla Walla Community College, and the Washington State Penitentiary are located in Walla Walla. Walla Walla University is located in nearby College Place, Washington. Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.
In July 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small town in the United States.
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 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 U.S.) 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. The former Governor's mansion stands in the southern part of the city. Following this period of rapid growth, agriculture became the city's primary industry.