Anyone that has visited The Dalles can attest to its surrounding natural beauty, but there is beauty located right in the center of downtown as well. Guests at Celilo Inn can learn about the history of The Dalles while looking at beautiful murals all over the city. The mural walk features 12 murals that each captures a different moment in history. Guests can explore the murals on their own, or they can stop by The Dalles Chamber of Commerce to purchase a key that will activate the talking boxes that are located at a number of the murals. These talking boxes give a more in-depth history of the mural and are narrated by historians, Native Americans or the artist themselves.
The 12 murals have been a labor of love put on by The Dalles Mural Society. The first mural titled “Decision at The Dalles” was painted in 1992 and depicts the perilous journey the first settlers faced along the Oregon Trail.
Right across the street from “Decision at The Dalles” is the fourth mural entitled “Celilo/Wyam—The Great Falls on the Columbia.” This mural was completed in 1995 and depicts the magnificent Celilo Falls which played a critical roll in the lives of local Native Americans as well as settlers. While the Celilo Falls no longer exist, this mural has beautifully captured an important moment in time.
Just a few blocks down you’ll find the striking mural of the Umatilla House, which was one of the largest, most luxurious hotels in the area in 1857. The hotel would hold onto is opulent reputation until a few years later when it would be plagued with continual bad luck–being involved in two fires and one flood. The mural which was painted in 1997 restores the Umatilla House back to the grand hotel that it once was.
The most recent mural which was painted in 2003 looks the farthest into the past. Entitled “Sahaptin Medicine Man” the mural captures a time before the settlers moved to the Northwest and Western practices had not yet incorporated themselves into the Native American culture. The medicine man played an integral part in the lives of tribe members from the physical, to the natural to the spiritual and this mural does an excellent job bringing us back to that time.
With 12 gorgeous and poignant murals to look at and learn from, the mural walk is a great way for Celilo Inn guests to not only learn the history of the area but also provides guests an opportunity to walk around the charming downtown area of The Dalles. All the murals are relatively close to one another making for a pleasant walk.
For more places to check out when visiting The Dalles, be sure to speak to our friendly staff when staying at Celilo Inn.