A short distance to the south, near the Walla Walla River, is Wai-i-lat-pu, "The Place of the People of the Rye Grass," a mission founded among the Cayuse Indians of the Walla Walla Valley in 1836 by Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa.
As increasing numbers of emigrants moved into the Oregon Country during the 1840's, Whitman Mission became an important station on the Oregon Trail. Cultural differences, climaxed by a measles epidemic that killed many Cayuse, ended the missionary effort. A few suspicious Cayuse took the lives of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and eleven others on November 29th, 1847.
The grounds, preserved through early community efforts, are now administered as a National Historic Site.