Windows on the Past
Historic and contemporary photos from ethnic and cultural groups who lived in the Walla Walla Valley from 1850 - 1950, as well as images of artifacts and ephemera, area landscapes, flora and fauna, are reproduced in porcelain enamel on steel panels. The final panels were installed in September, 2010. The Art Director and production artist was Walla Walla artist Jeanne McMenemy. Research interns, including students from Whitman College and Walla Walla University assisted with research and photo procurement. The panels were produced by Winsor Fireform, Tumwater, WA.
About the art
The center windows are images from the area’s Native Americans. Over twenty different other ethnic and cultural groups were identified for inclusion in the mural. Represented are Chinese, African-Americans, French, Italians, Jewish, Lebanese, Latinos, Japanese, Norwegians, English, Scots, Irish, Swiss, Polish, Germans from Russia, Ukrainians, Germans, and Greeks. A tryptich panorama of the Blue Mountains and an image of Wallula Gap by Walla Walla Photographer, Hans Matschukat, and an image of Bennington Lake on Mill Creek, by Donna Lasater fill the top arches. You can read a detailed history and explanation of all panels here.
History of the temple
The 1902 Odd Fellows Temple was the first major public building designed by architect Henry Osterman, who later designed Green Park School, the County Courthouse, the Die Brücke Building, the Liberty Theater, and other Walla Walla buildings. Many of Osterman’s signature design elements and Dutch reformist style can be seen in these buildings.
In 1993, when the Temple was torn down, the hand-carved sandstone facade was dis-mantled stone by stone and the stones numbered to facilitate reassembly. The Blue Mountain Arts Alliance (now ArtWalla) relocated the facade to Heritage Park, on Main Street.
This $70,000 project was underwritten by Baker Boyer Bank. Many individuals and organizations, led by Project Manager Rob Robinson, contributed to this project. Their names are on a plaque next to the facade.