Karen Heinzman painted the “Welcome to Historic Walla Walla” mural on the Mill Creek water tank 15 years ago. Design and planning started in 2001.
The Rotary Club of Walla Walla (or Noon Rotary) wanted “to gift the city with a large mural to promote tourism and interest in our city and to show citizen pride in our community by showcasing landmarks of our historical past,” according to Heinzman’s speech given at the dedication of the mural.
In an email to the U-B this morning, she further explained the artwork, saying she was inspired by “the obvious historical roots from the beginning through current events and specialties we are known for.
“I wanted to include the Blue Mountains, water of Mill Creek and the Walla Walla River, fields of wheat and onions (beginning of our agricultural prominence to modern day vineyards and other crops), and trees (preservation of our record trees). “The Marcus Whitman and Whitman Memorial Tower represented our businesses and three area colleges. The wagon represented our history and hot air balloons our tourism industry.
“The original design included many more aspects such as a teepee, trolley, Pioneer Park gazebo, Klicker strawberries, horses for Fair and Frontier days, but it became too complicated.