The Whitman branch of the Oregon Trail (tan) passed northward through Baker and Wallova Counties to Walla Walla.
Whitman is credited for bringing the first missionary compounds to the Oregon Territory, and for establishing old trails used by mountainmen, explorers and trappers by bringing the first wagon train of settlers to the Oregon Territory.
Read his story
Town Joseph named after Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians. Photographer Joseph Whiteman, Pilot Don Kelly.
Yes, they have beautiful winters in Wallawa County, Oregon
Wallowa County February 11, 1887, was cut out of east Union County.
Other boundary changes were in 1890, 1900, and 1915 as more land was taken from or added to Union County.
Wallowa is a Nez Perce word for "fish trap."
Wallowa is bounded by Washington State on the north, on the east by the Snake River, the State of Washington, by the Snake River and Idaho to the east, and by Baker County to the south, and Union County to the west.
In 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce refused to move his people to an Idaho Reservation. Instead he took his people on a sixteen hundred mile move through Idaho and north through Montana in an attempt to reach safety in Canada.
The United States Army was sent to force him onto the reservation. Just 30 miles from the Canadian Border the troops caught up with the Nez Perce. After a number of small skirmishes, Chief Joseph, fearing for his people was forced by dire circumstances to surrender.
He and the tribe were transported to a reservation in Oklahoma,far from his beloved Willawa Valley.
Chief Joseph never lived to see his beloved homeland again, but what was left of his tribe was eventually moved back to Washington State.
This was another injustice, of a long string of injustices, suffered by our native population. The lies and broken treaties just never stopped until there were too few Indians to further resist.
The Wallowa Mountains are different than other mountain ranges as they are granetic instead of volcanic in origin.
The county took it's name from the Wallowa River,the Nez Perce word for "fish trap."
Millions of years ago, volcanic eruptions, from volcanic vents to the west, poured down the Columbia River to the sea.
The City of Joseph was the county seat until 1888 when the people voted to move the county seat to Enterprise.
In 1909 a courthouse was built. Constructed of native stone the building is still in use today.
Enterprise is the Wallowa trade center for ranchers and has local offices for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Industries in Wallowa County include agriculture, livestock, lumber, tourism, and recreation.