Area History

Dayton is rich in history, featuring several museums ranging from a historic train depot to Victorian homes to Native American artifacts. The area also was a main stop on the Lewis & Clark expedition with several sites and statues commemorating their visit. Below is a listing of the many historical nuggets found in the Dayton area.



Built in 1880, The Boldman House was bequeathed to the Dayton Historical Depot Society in July of 2000 by Gladys Boldman.The Boldman House Museum and Garden has a mission: to bring life to the family home of Miss Gladys M. Boldman through restoration, conservation, interpretation, and education. It is listed on the Local, State and National
Historic Registers as the Brining/Boldman House.

Winter Hours (October - April) are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm

Summer Hours (May - September) are Wednesday-Saturday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

 Individual or group tours during other times are available by appointment. For reservations, call 509-382-1548 or email your request to



Originally built in 1881 and designed in the Stick/Eastlake style, the Dayton Historic Depot is now the oldest surviving passenger train station in the state. The Depot has been beautifully restored and is now a museum. Revolving exhibits are featured in the upstairs gallery. Located at 222 E. Commercial Street.

WINTER HOURS (November thru April.): Wednesday thru Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm

SUMMER HOURS (May through October) : Wednesday thru Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, closing for lunch from noon to 1 pm.

For information call 509-382-2026.

Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Holidays.

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Fort Walla Walla Museum discovers, preserves and shares regional heritage through its cultural resources management program, five exhibit halls, 17 building Pioneer Village, special events and summer kids camps. Located at 755 Myra Road, Walla Walla, WA 509-525-7703

January 2 – March 31: 10-4pm weekdays
April 1 – October 31 10-5pm everyday
November 1 – December 23 10-4pm everyday
December 24 – December 31 closed


Palus Artifact Museum

The Palus Artifact Museum located at 426 E Main Street (across from the Veterans Memorial) offers a collection of locally found artifacts from the Palus Indian tribe.This Native American tribe spent their winters near Palouse Falls and their summers hunting game and collecting roots and berries in Dayton and the nearby Blue Mountains.Also on display is a beautiful collection of native plants.

Museum hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. or by appointment. Please call 509-540-9560 or email for more information.

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On their return journey, Merriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery passed through what is now downtown Dayton. Having traveled 19 miles on that particular day, the group encamped near Patit Creek.

As part of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, a group of Dayton residents created a full-scale restoration of the campsite with life-size metal silhouette sculptures. Using the journals as reference, all members (human and animal) of the expedition are represented.  The camp is located just two miles east of Dayton on Patit road. Silhouette statues of Lewis, Clark and horses mark Patit Rd at the turn from US Highway 12. Signs at the site include a legend of those represented.



The one-room schoolhouse once served students in 1st through 8th grade in rural Columbia County before becoming a community meeting center and, then, closing in 1933. The schoolhouse appears just as it did in its heyday, showcasing the history of education in the county, as well as a meeting place for the society and other community groups. Located at  Front & Commercial streets, 509-540-9560



Rich in area history, Dayton was first settled in the 1850′s and soon became a thriving community.Between 1880 and 1910, prosperous businessmen and farmers built impressive residential, commercial, and public buildings in the Queen Anne, Italianate, Gothic and Craftsman style. Today, 117 of those buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and form three National Historic Districts. Self-guided walking tour maps are available for each district at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, the Dyaton Historic Depot, and local retail stores.