Closer to home - Pioneer Park

by David Robertson April. 13, 2020 211 views

Pioneer Parks are a common thing in small towns along the Oregon Trail route. There was one in Pendleton, Oregon where I lived for 20 years and raised my kids. It was odd in that it held a few graves because it initially was the local cemetery, and then at some point in the late 1870s it had been converted into a park. I always wondered what the logic was behind that decision. It was about the size of a city block and strangely there were a few folks that weren't claimed and so their graves remain. There were three children, all related, and all right in a row with flat tombstones right along the entrance to the playground, and a former civil war soldiers grave in another corner, and a few others scattered around.

When I moved to Walla Walla,Washington. I found out there was a Pioneer Park near my apartment. I often run there or walk there with Shelly. The route traverses a great old neighborhood with neat old homes from the early 1900s. We often think of owning a home there, and even looked at one the other day, but decided now is not the time.

One that might be a bit out of our price range :)

One that might be a bit out of our price range :)

Walla Walla is the word for many waters among local native Americans, and there are springs everywhere

Walla Walla is the word for many waters among local native Americans, and there are springs everywhere

The park itself is much nicer than the one in Pendleton, and I was suprised I wasn't aware of it when I lived there. It would have been worth a visit even for an out-of-towner. It has a creek, ponds, an aviary and bandstand.

Since the pandemic stay at home order, we started to seek it out more. The problem is we aren't the only ones that had the idea. There are more and more people coming to the park, and we often have to weave on and off the paths to avoid the contact. Still if you time it right there can be fewer people, such as just before sunset when these photos were taken. It was a nice warm walk and a beautiful evening. At times you could almost forget the pandemic in the smell of flowers and that orange streaked sky.

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