Mullan Road Conference

April 13-15, 2012

Walla Walla, Washington

Organized by the Mullan Road Project Staff at Eastern Washington University 

and the Walla Walla Mullan Road Sesquicentennial Committee

Conference Registration Form

Fort Walla Walla, 1857

Tell me: What was the Mullan Road? (Click and Learn)

Conference Schedule 

(To register in advance, use the Conference Registration Form.)

Friday: Welcome at the Museum

    Friday Evening, April 13, 6:00 to 9:00 at Fort Walla Walla Museum
    Conference Registration with Food, Beverages, and Site-Seeing

    Front Entrance - Fort Walla Walla Museum

    Saturday: Conference Presentations

      Saturday, Morning and Afternoon, April 14: Historical Presentations
      Walla Walla VA Medical Center Theater, which is near the Fort Walla Walla Museum. Click here to see map -- we will meet in building 78.
      (Lunch will be Available at the Site)

      8:30 to 9:00 Pre-Conference Meet and Greet

      • 9:00 to 9:30 Conference Welcome and Announcements -- Regional News
      • -- We'll include information on the effort to secure a Mullan Road National Trail designation.

      • 9:30 to 9:45 Student-Scholar Presentation, "New Online Resources on the Mullan Road" 
      • -- A report by Bill Youngs on Eastern Washington University recent Mullan work done by student-scholars Lea Anne Scott, Liz McNutt, Tanya Bailey, and Gabe Rose on some of the amazing new resources available for the online study and enjoyment of the Mullan Road.

      • 9:45 to 10:15 Larry Cebula, "Creating Historical Tours for Smartphones"
      • -- Larry Cebula is head of the Public History Program at Eastern Washington University, and assistant archivist at the Washington State Digital Archives, which is located in Cheney. He will present his experiences in developing "Spokane Historical" a multi-media smartphone app for Spokane History, and he will suggest ways that this technology could be applied to touring sites along the Mullan Road.
      • See Larry Cebula's blog on Northwest History

      • 10:30 to 11:30 Bill Weikel, "Measuring and Mapping with John Mullan"
      • -- Bill "Montana Bill" Weikel, is an authority on the surveying equipment and techniques of 150 years ago. He will dress in period surveyor costume, and he will discuss and display examples from his remarkable collection of actual surveying instruments used at the time of John Mullan.

      • 11:30 to 12:00 Ron Klicker, "A Special Appearance by John Mullan Himself!"
      • -- Ron Klicker, a Walla Walla resident, regularly role-plays our favorite army engineer. Today "Captain Mullan" will be discussing his life and times, including his initial work with Gov. Isaac Stevens, as well as the building of the Mullan Road.

      • 12:00 to 1:00 On-Site Lunch Break

      • 1:00 to 1:30 J. William T. "Bill" Youngs, "Precision and Poetry: the Utility and Elegance of the Mullan Report"
      • -- John Mullan was a soldier and an engineer with a job that required a lot of precise measurements; he was also a man with a playful and poetic side. Some of the pleasure in reading his report comes from the mingling of both of these elements in his words. Bill's books include, The Fair and the Falls: Spokane's Expo '74-Transforming an American Environment.
      • 1:30 to 2:00 Ryan Shaw, "John Mullan and 'Humboltian Exploration'"
      • -- Major Ryan Shaw is an instructor at the United States Military Academy, West Point, and a Ph.D. candidate in History at Yale University. In his words: "I"m presently trying to situation Mullan and the rest of my guys [other army engineers in the West] as examples of "Humboldtian" exploration and science, and trace the influence of Alexander von Humboldt and Romanticism on the West Point curriculum that inspired them."

      • 2:00 to 2:30 David Polk, "Mapping the Mullan Road in Walla Walla County"
      • -- David Polk will describe a number of techniques he uses to map the Mullan Road.

      • 2:30 to 3:00  Mahlon E. Kriebel, "Using Maps of the Steptoe and Wright Campaigns to Understand John Mullan's Mapping"
      • -- Mahlon Kriebel has been studying the Steptoe and Wright Campaigns for the last five years. Much of his investigation has relied on the T. Kolecki Field Note Maps and Field Notes and Bearings which he made during the Wright Campaign. Most importantly, he has walked much of the trails. The Kolecki Field Note Maps and Bearings were used to make the Mullan Reconnaissance Map published in the 35th Congressional Records. 
      • 3:15 to 3:45  Ron Hall,  "Using Google Earth to Explore the Mullan Road"
      • --  Ron Hall is nicknamed the “Google Geek” by his family and associates.  Designated a “Super Modeler” by Google for his 3D visualization work with SketchUp software, Ron is also a member of Google's Outreach Trainers forum and a “Featured Content Provider” - known for his work with Google Earth and Google Apps. In his “spare” time, Ron is an online instructor in Eastern Washington University's GIS certificate program and does freelance web development/3D visualization with his company – Evans-Hall, Inc.

         3:45 to 4:15 James Payne, Gregory Civay, and Sarah Starr, Fort Walla Walla Museum, Heritage Research Services, "New Finds at the Old Fort: Recent Archaeological Investigations at Fort Walla Walla"
        -- The third U.S. military Fort Walla Walla (1858-1910, 1917) served as one of the longest occupied posts in the Northwest.  Several researchers have investigated the site during the last few decades, with much of that effort concentrating on the large dump west of the primary cluster of buildings. Recent research efforts have focused in the heart of the fort area on historic building sites slated for development. Archaeological investigations, plus monitoring earthmoving activities during construction, indicate that a significant amount of intact cultural deposits have survived decades of fairly major development activities. These investigations have yielded features and a rich artifact assemblage including the oldest historic material (late 1850s-early 1860s) found to date at the fort. Assemblages associated with the early sutler’s area, quartermaster’s complex, noncommissioned officers’ quarters, hospital, and magazine were recovered.  Lithic artifacts found in three locations suggest prehistoric occupations of unknown function exist in this area. While analysis is ongoing, a wealth of new data is providing insight into the life ways of the soldiers and their families.

      • 4:15 to 4:45 Kim Briggeman, Interactive Session Facilitator,"Let's Get It Right -- 150 Years of Myths, Misconceptions and Outright Lies Along the Mullan Road."   
        -- From simple misspellings (Mullan vs. Mullen) to Mullan Road vs. Mullan Trail to the mysterious dates on many John Mullan Monuments, some things just aren't recorded correctly. As the sesquicentennial of the construction of the Road comes to a close, we'll try to set the record straight. Kim Briggeman of Missoula, with input from Kay Strombo of Superior and Bill Youngs of Cheney and the rest of us, will facilitate an interactive session where everyone gets an opportunity to air their pet Mullan Road peeves.

      • 4:45 to 5:00 General discussion: Where shall we meet next year? 

      Saturday, Evening, April 14, 7:00: dinner and presentation
      Walla Walla VA Medical Center Theater
      • Paul D. "Dan" McDermott,"Recreating the Mullan Road in a Book and Images"
      • -- Dan McDermott, who comes to us from Virginia, is the leading authority on the contemporary drawings and paintings of the Mullan Road adventure. He coauthored one of the most appealing -- and useful -- books on the topic: Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, 1853-54. Tonight he will discuss a new anthology he is editing about articles and images on the Mullan Road.

      Click image above for more information about the book.

      Sunday: Road Trip, Monument Dedication, and 

      a Historical Town Meeting

      Sunday, Morning, April 15, 9:00 to 1:00: Road Trip - Seeking the Mullan Road in the Walla Walla Environs

      • -- Dan Clark and others have been working hard to identify portions of the Mullan Road between Walla Walla and Prescott. We will climb aboard a bus at 9:00 to study the fruits of their labor. Hooray, at last we Mullan Road Fans will have a chance to explore the final miles of the 624-mile road, so dear to all of us!

      Sunday, Mid-Day, 1:00: Mullan Road Monument Dedication -- at Planned Mullan Road Historic Site, Abadie and 13th (Mullan Road) in Walla Walla
      • -- Here is how Dan Clark, local arrangements chair, explains this portion of the program in an email exchange. Dan wrote: "We have quite a number of visuals to display, and since it might be raining that day, we’re wondering if we might begin the dedication ceremony at the Foundry Vineyards tasting room, and then take people across the street for the unveiling of the monument." Mark Anderson of Foundry Vineyards replied: "Sunday, April 15th, will work for Foundry Vineyards. We are normally closed on Sunday, so having the group come in won't interfere with our normal routines." If we get back from our bus tour in time, a wine tasting may be part of the event. Here's another wonderful example of the hospitality that is a part of the history of the Mullan Road!

      Sunday, Afternoon, April 15, 2:00: Living History Town Meeting on Walla Walla Sesquicentennial at Fort Walla Walla Museum
      • -- This will be a historical reenactment of the kind of event that occurred regularly in Walla Walla at the time of the Mullan Road.

      Conference Rates
      Travelodge, 421 E. Main Street next to Whitman College, 509-529-4940 -- Rooms for $69  (contact Hamel Patel, manager)

      Walla Walla Vineyard Inn, 325 E. Main Street, near Whitman College,  509-529-4360 -- $55 for a single, or $60 for two queens