Walla Walla

When I was a kid, I used to spend two or three weeks each summer in Walla Walla, Washington… a dreary farming community in middle of nowhere where my Mom was raised. As much as I loved visiting my grandparents, as I got older, the visits became more and more boring. There was nothing to do in Walla Walla.

Now, twenty-five years later, the LA times says that  Walla Walla is trendy… more than that, it’s a vacation spot.

A $53-million revitalization of its once-dying downtown core helped Walla Walla
to win a 2001 Great American Main Street award from the National Trust for
Historic Preservation. A year later, the trust chose the city as one of
America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, or "pockets of serenity amid the
sprawling clutter and homogenization that have overwhelmed so many American
vacation spots."

Last December I decided to have a look for myself. I
found a bit of Americana with a lively arts scene and three colleges, a
community that wears its pride on its sleeve, calling itself "the town so nice
they named it twice." And nice it is, with first-rate restaurants and
accommodations, art galleries and wineries.

It almost makes me want to go back and visit… though only a few members of my family still live there… and it’s still in middle of nowhere.

Walla Walla, just north of the Oregon border in southeastern Washington, isn’t
the easiest place to get to, but locals say that’s part of its charm and helps
to ensure that it won’t become an overtrodden Napa Valley. Horizon Air (a
subsidiary of Alaska Airlines) has three daily flights to and from Seattle, a
50-minute hop, or it’s 260 miles away by car on U.S. Highway 12.

When I was a kid, we used to fly into Portland… a good four-plus hour drive from Walla Walla… or, in later years, we’d arrive  in Pendleton.  I don’t remember how we got to Pendleton, but it was still an hour or two from Walla Walla, if my memory is correct.

My grandparents lived in Walla Walla for fifty years, most of the time in an unusual looking house on Division Street, near a park and a hamburger stand.  Later, they moved to the country club, and another unusual looking house (though more contemporary), which meant we could tool around in their golf cart and pretend we were driving a car.  I did a lot of reading in Walla Walla,  and bike-riding, and a lot of writing, too, on my grandmother’s portable typewriter that printed  in cursif.  I still have all the "novels" I wrote as a kid in Walla Walla in a box in the garage. One of these days, I’ll have to open the box up and take a look at them…

20 thoughts on “Walla Walla”

  1. My family is from Walla Walla. I thought it was Hicksville till we had a family reunion in August. (250+ people showed up… 1/2 the town I’m sure.) The great things about Walla Walla are the wineries. Good heavens, there is one on every street corner… and coming from a fantastic Irish Catholic heritage I spent the entire time lushing from one corner to the next. It was Glorious!

  2. Maybe your family knew mine — The Barers. They owned B. Barer and Sons scrap metal in downtown Walla Walla. My late grandfather, David Barer, was very active in the community during his lifetime.

  3. I wouldn’t doubt it. If I remember correctly my great-grandparents moved to Walla Walla around the turn of the century. They had 9 children which trickles down to up’teen aunts, uncles, and cousins I’m currently related to in that region. I’ll call over the weekend and ask if anyone know the name Barer.

  4. Being that I am one of your family members from Walla Walla thought I would throw some comments in on this topic… Now, I haven’t been to Walla for over 5 years, but as far as I know the big thing about it now days is the Wine, specifically Leonetti’s.
    I still have friends who live there, but I have been resisting even the most base temptations (food related of course) to return. If you do go back, Lee, remember Iceburg and hit John’s Wheatland bakery… both almost make going to Walla Walla worth it 😉
    How are you fairing after your surgery? Hope you are doing well. Shoot me an email sometime, would love to hear from you.
    Your cousin, Anea

  5. Wow. Walla Walla bosts that it is “home to three colleges” this includes my own school, Whitman College, who in certain circles will boast that it is the “Harvard of Walla Walla” Walla Walla is indeed very quaint. And yes the wine is pretty good. Being somewhat of a city kid myself, i do get bored here. However, there is a commitment in this little town to take care of its members, though it remains to be seen if they will integrate its migrant laborers into the visible community or not. (as of now they live in a camp, most of the town does not offer spanish services). Also great in Walla Walla is the road cycling. Each year the Whitman cycling team getts bigger and bigger, grande velo, the town club also is growing. The tour de Walla Walla is the most amazing race (and best crit) I have ever been in.
    thats my two cents. I need to write a paper…

  6. I remember your visits to Walla Walla, I think your parents dropped you off with the grandfolks while they went to exotic places. My last memory is taking Steve and Todd to a Walla Walla Padres game.

  7. I remember your visits to Walla Walla, I think your parents dropped you off with the grandfolks while they went to exotic places. My last memory is taking Steve and Todd to a Walla Walla Padres game.

  8. Here here:
    Walla Walla…I am Married to Lenora Stubblefield , not a big thing to you but that her dad,Emory Stubblefield is the owner of E&s Stubblefield Scrap Metal in Walla Wala on Offner Road and probly knew your grandparents. Emory is now 92 and has lived on Offner Road for oh maybe 60 years. His adopted son Stphen(Ralph Stubblefield has ownership of the Scrap busines and recycle near rose and 11th. I do not beleave he got it away from Emory fair and square,he stole it from the estate but he does work hard and has managed his business quite well over the years, THAT IS ALL THE CREDIT he will ever get from me.

  9. Stories about Walla Walla Wa. are plentiful. The Stubblefield Grave Yard, Starting with J.L. Stubblefield in the late 1800s To the Emory.N.Stubblefield Scrap Yard. Seems to me the Demons of the Grave Yard Moved to the Scrap Yard and took over Emory Stubblefield and his Adopted son Stphen Ralph. God be my wittness, When we die and see the other side, you will find the Posesion of the Stubblefields on Offner Road is the pivot point of all correuption in Walla Walla. The Hub of the Wheel with all the spokes leading to the orriginal point of Sin and demons in Walla Walla.
    One night about 2:30 AM Emory called me and told me to cut a lock off a gate to the barn. He told me to stand in the middle of Offner Road and he would drive down the road to run me over. Thats the kind of Christian Love he wants to show me. I have the tape recording of his very words from the phone.
    Don’t be decieved by the demons there in Walla Walla. My Warning is DON’T GO THERE.
    Those stories about the Stubblefield Grave Yard hold more Truth than fiction. Who killed who and where in or near Walla Walla did they burry em or crush em.? Your guess is as good as mine. Curosity Killed the Cat So Stay out of Walla Walla.
    I was in Walla Walla to Preach the Gosspil on the streets as I did as a young person..Now I know what the problem is with Walla Walla . The outside shell looks inviting but the inner working of the persons in control are the same Spirits that Killed Jesus. Self-Rightious-ness. When you are your own Gods you can not be Humble. You can lead the horse to water but you can NOT -NOT make them drink. I gave them the Water of the Holy Spirit and they will not drink. You are all Dead Men Walking. (I can not spell but you get the Idea)Happy Halloween.

  10. i’d love to know more about the history of stubblefield graveyard. i use to live there myself and only heard vague stories of witches being buried there and strange animals chasing along behind cars. please email me as i will likely never find this site again ;P

  11. Hello to anyone out there with information about Stubblefield Cemetery. I just visited it yesterday as some of my husbands ancestors are buried there and found no witches, ghosts or goblins. In fact I was surprised to read these comments about such things. However it has been sadly neglected and vandalized. It was quite a trek across a farmers field to get there but I understand the road has been ploughed under to discourage further destruction of the cemetery. My husbands ancestors are Andrew Morgan, Mariah French and Hattie Saling. If anyone in Walla Walla knows anything about these families, would you please contact me?
    Thanks, Bev

  12. I rememeber old man Stublefield. He was the nicest man that i have ever met in Walla Walla. My dad used to go ther alot when i was a kid to get steal beams for bridges at the ranch, and we take me along. I went back ther when i was 16, and his adopted son spent a 1.5 hr with me to help me find what was looking for. I have lived ther for over 25 years now, born and raised ther. I have never heard of any type of stories about witches, or demons taking over the Stublesields…lol. Only thing that i have heard is that old man Stublefield is one of the nicest people to meet, and would give the shirt off his back to help you out, and always willing to listen.

  13. Walla Walla is a very nice place to visit, it has diffently boomed in the past five years, and ther is alot more to do ther now then ther was to do 5 to 8 years ago. walla walla has been putting alot of pride into ther not so small town anymore. The city has been doing what they can to make Walla Walla one of the greatest places to visit, and also a very safe place for teens, and families. they have given tham places to go on weekends, and week nights to have fun. Ther is tons of things to do, places to go see if you are visiting Walla Walla, and i you will not be disapointed. If you are into the country….Tiger Canyon will have the most beautiful sits you well ever see, ther are numeriouse of other places to go see also, just ask anyone ther.

  14. I grew up in Emories neighborhood and yes he is the nicest man, As a child i would go there and look for spare parts for my Bicycles,i would find parts at times and try to pay him with my Lawn mowing money and he would never take it,He would tell me if thats whats keeps your Bicycle on the Road i’m happy to help you now get.And now i am in my late Forties i still do Business there because of his Kindness to me as a child and those little parts he would give me although its been a few years since i have seen him at the Yard i hope all is well with him

  15. Me and my friends are really exlporing sometimes and just last weekend we went to Stubblefield to explore. Although it is trespassing, we find that place interesting. While we were there we discovered the grave of Mariah French. About 60 something when she died? My email is beccaemifu@rocketmail.com.

  16. How interesting to learn more about the David Barer family and the Emory and Margurite Stubblefield family.
    I am Albert B. Stubblefield, the son of Emory N. and Margurite A. Funnemark-Stubblefield. My dad and David Barer were good friends and my dad had the greatest admiration for Mr. Barer. Although they competed in the scrap metal business, it was always a friendly and cordial business relationship. I often visited Mr. Barer’s business with my dad, Emory.
    Something interesting I read above is a reference to Steve Stubblefield born as Stephen Eugene Ralph. In his early teens, Steve legally changed his name to Stubblefield. He claims to have been adopted by my parents at age 26 and flashes a questionable birth certificate to anyone who will listen. There are no court records and no minutes from any judge to substantiate his claim. To his dying day, October 3, 2008, my father, Emory N. Stubblefield, denied having ever adopted Steve.
    Dad, Emory Stubblefield, felt betrayed by Steve and Deborah Ralph-Stubblefield when, in April 2008, they filed court papers to take control of his business, bank accounts, land and assets. During Dad’s final days, he refused to see them or allow them in the house where we grew up.
    Steve and Deborah Ralph-Stubblefield along with their accomplices, Brent and Adena Hodges (aka Hodgins) have now filed a lawsuit against me and my two sisters, the only living children of Emory and Margurite Stubblefield, in yet another attempt to take over our family’s estate.


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