Dreamland Park creator to be portrayed at museum

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Dick Phillips portrays nurseryman Charles W. Phillips.

Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road, will present Living History portrayals at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday's portrayal is of early settler Charles W. Phillips. Phillips was born in 1855 to William and Pauline Phillips. The family moved to Walla Walla in 1861.

Phillips dabbled in photography, volunteered aboard the steamship Spokane on the Columbia River during the 1878 Bannock-Paiute Indian war and homesteaded in Colton, Wash. He returned to Walla Walla in 1881 and married Nellie Siskiyou Rockfellow. He then opened a tin shop and stove store in Island City, Ore., for a time but returned to Walla Walla and established a chicken farm on South Ninth Avenue. He converted the farm to a nursery and greenhouse business in 1892.

He built Dreamland Park across from his nursery business. The park had a wild animal zoo, grazing elk, a monkey house, a bear pit, exotic birds, a dance hall, a museum and a man-made lake surrounding an island with a "summer house." Also featured were a spraying fountain, boats to rent, flower beds and an "old timer's" cabin. It was later sold and became Jefferson Park in 1931.

On Sunday, wilderness priest John Baptiste Abraham Brouillet is portrayed. Brouillet came to the Walla Walla Valley in September 1847 just a few weeks before the incident at Whitman Mission. He established his own mission about 25 miles south of Whitman Mission shortly after he arrived. He was on his way to Whitman Mission to verify a rumor of a terrible occurrence and found the Whitmans' bodies along with 11 others. Joseph Stanfield, a M?©tis, was preparing the bodies for burial, and Brouillet helped bury them. He also helped arrange the release of 60 captives taken at the Mission.

Brouillet went on to become a pioneer figure in Catholic institutions in Walla Walla, purchasing the land for St. Vincent's Academy in 1863 and founding Saint Patrick's School for boys in 1865. He also founded Des La Salles school for boys, that later became Desales High School. Father Brouillet is portrayed by ski instructor, woodworker and retired teacher Jeannot Poirot.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is free to members and children under 6, $3 for children ages 6-12, $6 for seniors 62 and older and students and $7 general admission. Membership includes free admission to more than 40 Living History performances and other benefits, beginning at $25. For more information, contact Fort Walla Walla Museum at 525-7703, e-mail info@fortwallawallamuseum.org or visit fortwallawallamuseum.org.

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