So instead I decided that I would give the name-origin of one place-name per entry. I might do entire entries on a few of the names, but in the case of some others, I might append their name-origins to the end of an entry on another topic. It would be a kind of factoid cherry-on-top, if you will.
Anyway, let's start with Walla Walla, Washington, shall we?
Where Walla Walla, Washington is
(Map from the KJ Suffolk sheep farm)
- The most famous early written record of Walla Walla was when Lewis & Clark wrote home about it. They spelled it Wolla Wollah.
- The name comes from a word "walatsa," which means "running."
- Walatsa is a word in the Shahaptian language, which was spoken by several native tribes that lived along the rivers in SE Washington, NE Oregon, and W Idaho. One of those tribes was called the Walla Wallas.
- I couldn't find enough information to confirm whether the word "running" referred to the nearby Walla Walla River, or the Walla Walla people who lived along it.
- Walla Walla isn't just a city; it's an entire county and also a river valley in the southeast corner of Washington State.
- The Walla Walla rivershed, shown in red in the map below, surrounds the Walla Walla River and extends into Oregon.
Much of central Washington's river valley basin is now thriving wine country.
(Map from the Isenhower Cellars in Walla Walla)
I couldn't talk about Walla Walla, Washington without including this classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, Transylvania 6-5000.
(wait for it...)
Lots of good place names in that cartoon. Another one of them was already on my list.
I think I've used the phrase "Walla Walla" more times in this entry than I have in the entire rest of my life.
Sound clip from Nonstick, a great resource for all kinds of Looney Tunes sounds.
Historylink, Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, Walla Walla County
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, People of the lower Columbia