This month in the Walla Walla Valley’s History:

10 years ago (2009)

On July 2, the production of the musical “Grease” will start July 9 at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater.

On July 5, the annual 4th of July in the Park at Pioneer Park draws its usual large crowd with a very large early turn out. Attendance is estimated at between 6,500 to 7,500.

On July 14, the local jobless rate has gone down, becoming the second lowest unemployment rate in the state.

On July 22, Hot Mama’s Espresso is welcoming U.S. troops coming home from a tour in Iraq.

On July 24, the Washington State Penitentiary is awarded for its support of veterans. Presently 28 penitentiary employees are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

25 Years Ago (1994)

On July 4, Whitman College’s accreditation is reaffirmed after agreeing to hold performance reviews of its tenured faculty.

On July 12, An archaeological dig near Tollgate has revealed Native American arrowheads and other artifacts.

On July 25, yesterdays record heat of 110 degrees was followed by thunderstorms and two lightning-caused fires in Dayton.

50 years ago (1969)

On July 2, a former summer employee at the local sheriff’s office, 22-year-old Ann Louise McKenney, has become one of the nation’s four women criminalists. She was hired by Seattle’s crime lab at a salary of $845 a month.

On July 6, the All Arabian Horse show is slated for July 10-12. More than 300 horses have been entered. Also work on Isaacs Avenue will start this week. The $254,784.00 project will upgrade the roadway from Penrose Avenue to Roosevelt Street.

On July 10, blackjack in city taverns and clubs will stop as of Aug. 15. Also the search is still on for two convicts who escaped from the Washington State Penitentiary.

On July 18, most federal, state, county and city offices will close on Monday, July 21, to honor the scheduled Apollo 11 moon landing.

On July 21, the city’s Mexican Fiesta is a huge success with about 3,000 attending. Miss Connie Briones was crowned queen.

On July 27, traffic signals will be changed from flashing to the green, amber, red sequence at Second and Chestnut, Alder and Palouse, Alder and Park, Alder and Clinton and Alder and Roosevelt.

75 Years Ago (1944)

On July 4, Arthur Brothers Circus will be coming to town July 10, with trapeze artists, clowns and other acts.

On July 8, Ray Thompson’s eight-piece orchestra will provide music for a dance at the Edgewater Open Air Pavilion on Colville, between Main and Alder.

On July 15, 600 acres of standing wheat were lost in a huge grain fire. The war vital wheat was estimated at about $25,000. Redmond Lasater was the main grower affected.

On July 16, another fire burns 125 acres of wheat west of Walla Walla.

On July 19, field pilots will fly patrols to watch for wheat fires. It combines the Walla Walla Army Air Base training program and the fire watch.

On July 23, the B-17 bomber “Days Pay” was christened at the Hanford airport and presented to Col. David Wade, base commander at the Walla Walla Army Airfield. It was purchased by donations from Hanford workers, flown to Walla Walla then on to the war. Also the YWCA opened Camp Kiwanis, above Kooskooskie, with 29 girls attending camp.

On July 30, more fires are burning west of Touchet.

100 Years Ago (1919)

On July 1, six applications for lodging licenses may be denied. Owners of rooming houses may be put out of business. They include: The Pleasant Home, the Paine Building, the Rees Hotel, No. 3 North Fourth St., the Butler Hotel, and the Delta 13 1/2 South Third St.

On July 18, the Jones Building on Second Avenue and Main Street has been sold for $75,000. In 1912, it was almost destroyed by a fire, which killed Assistant Fire Chief Robert Wolfe.

On July 27, preparations for the County Fair are in full swing. This year there will be a huge exhibit of sheafs and samples of threshed wheat brought in by area growers.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at or 509-526-8324.

Karlene Ponti began as Special Publications Writer in 1999, work includes Lifestyles, The Weekly and Business Monthly. After Wa-Hi, Ponti attended Whitman and is a UW graduate. Later she was ordained a Christian minister at CDM Spiritual Teaching Center.

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