Sept. 03--Members of Providence Chapter of Colonial Dames XVII Century will mark Frenchtown as a historical site during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday at Frenchtown Historic Site, 8364 W. Old Highway 12. The entrance is two miles west of Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
Local members of Colonial Dames dwindled to four members, said Sarita McCaw, at which point they joined the Tri-Cities chapter. They financed a plaque that recognizes Frenchtown as an important historical place. The chapter will also present a small check to help fund the site's preservation. Members hoping to attend include Sarita, Dorothy Widmann, Betty Hull, Elsie German, 102, and Sally Slate, chapter president, along with Dames from the Tri-Cities.
The site is open from dawn to dusk daily with no admission charge, and presents many dramatic stories of Walla Walla's early history.
Restoration is currently being done on the 1837 French-Canadian designed Prince's Cabin that was moved to and re-erected there to prevent it from being demolished. About $25,000 is needed to complete the project, Sarita said.
During the Colonial Dames' state board meeting in Walla Walla on Oct. 11, Sarita said they intend to visit the site.
Daniel N. Clark, president of the Frenchtown Historical Foundation, said it was incorporated as a non-profit in 1993. Its mission is to preserve, enhance and interpret heritage sites and artifacts related to the settlement of French-Canadians and Metis in the Walla Walla Valley in the 1800s, and their interactions and intermarriage with members of area tribes.
Since 2005 FHF has worked to protect and preserve Frenchtown Cemetery and adjoining lands related to the Battle of Walla Walla and the St. Rose of Lima Mission along Highway 12 west of Walla Walla.
FHF has acquired approximately 57 acres, has created trails, interpretive signage, vehicle parking, an interpretive overlook, an interpretive shelter and restoration of native grasses at the Frenchtown Historic Site on the upper 27 acres.
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