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Museums, monuments pay tribute to Yakima Valley history

Looking to learn a bit more about our local history, or just wanting to immerse yourself in culture?

Here’s a few places where you can get a look at the Valley’s agricultural past, learn about the prehistory of the Valley or even view the works of one of history’s greatest sculptors.

Yakima Valley Museum

Located at 2105 Tieton Drive, the Yakima Valley Museum has exhibits that highlight the Valley’s pioneers, from Native Americans to immigrants from Japan, the Philippines and Mexico, as well as a reproduction of the prehistoric forests that covered the area using fossilized trees.

There also is a permanent exhibit celebrating one of Yakima’s more famous residents, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, as well as a children’s museum.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays, and admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and children under 5 are free. There also is a family rate of $12.

Central Washington Agricultural Museum

Tucked away in Fullbright Park, the Central Washington Agricultural Museum features farm equipment from various eras, as well as a fully working blacksmith’s shop and a sawmill. There’s also a children’s village and several pioneer homes, as well as a scale model of Yakima’s Fruit Row in the 1930s, housed in an old railroad freight car.

Visitors can take either a walking tour or a drive-through tour of the exhibits where agricultural machinery is placed on display.

The museum is open year-round from dusk to dawn, while buildings are open from April through October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday, and

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Union Gap Old Town Days and Civil War re-enactment will be June 18-19 at the museum and the park, with a night battle on June 18. The 36th annual Pioneer Power Show and Swap Meet will be Aug. 19-20. There is a $5 admission for the power show.

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Battle of Two Buttes

(Pah-Oy-Ti-Koot) Monument

Just south of Union Gap on U.S. Highway 97 there is a turnout with two stone monuments commemorating a battle between the U.S. Army and Yakama Indians in November 1855.

One, a carved rock, records the fact that the battle was fought near the location as part of the Yakima War (the Yakama Nation reverted the spelling of the tribe’s name to its original form in 1994). The other marker notes the death of Tow-Tow-Nah-Hee, the only Yakama killed in the fight, which took place 31/2 miles north of the marker’s location.

Federal troops, along with volunteers from Oregon, assaulted a Yakama breastwork on the hill Nov. 9, 1855, using mountain howitzers to break down the breastwork and scatter the defenders. The next day, a government scout, Ow-Hah-Tah-Ma-So, spotted Tow-Tow-Nah-Hee on a lame horse and killed him after a pursuit.

Lt. Phillip Sheridan, who would later go on to command the Union’s Army of the Shenandoah during the Civil War, wrote that the Yakama was armed with “an old Hudson’s Bay flintlock horse pistol, which could not be discharged.”

The marker, placed by the Yakamas, describes Tow-Tow-Nah-Hee as a non-combatant.

Maryhill Museum of Art

Situated on a hilltop near the Columbia River, the Maryhill Museum of Art is home to an eclectic collection of artwork. Among its permanent exhibits are 87 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Orthodox Church icons donated by Queen Marie of Romania, Native American artifacts and 100 chess sets from around the world.

The museum is open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. from March 15 to Nov. 15. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 or older, and $3 for children ages 7 and up. Children 6 and younger are free, while people who have an Electronic Benefits Transfer card are $2.

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