Early settler's life portrayed at museum

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WALLA WALLA — Early settler Fred Stine will be portrayed at the Fort Walla Walla Museum Living History enactment, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Stine represents one of Walla Walla’s best “rags to riches” stories.

He arrived in Walla Walla in 1862 with no more than the clothes on his back and 75 cents in his pocket, but eventually built the largest brick hotel in Washington Territory.

Stine will be portrayed by Touchet agribusinessman Charles Saranto.

After Stine’s arrival, he quickly went about earning the trust of local residents who lent him sufficient funds to set up a lucrative blacksmith shop serving the needs of miners making their way to Idaho’s gold fields, pioneers from the Oregon Trail, and the military at Fort Walla Walla.

With the fortune he made, Stine not only retired his debts in a few short months, but soon amassed enough to construct the Stine House in 1872, the largest brick hotel in the region.

Among events the hotel hosted was a celebrated dinner for President Rutherford B. Hayes and General William Tecumseh Sherman. When much of the hotel burned in 1892, Stine sold the property to George Dacres who rebuilt it as the Hotel Dacres, now the Dacres Building on the corner of West Main Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Walla Walla.

Performances are held in the pioneer settlement at Fort Walla Walla Museum, 755 Myra Road. Visitors are encouraged to question the Living History re-enactors about their lives and times.

The Museum is open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 525-7703.

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