Lois Hits the Road travel blog

hanging clothes

the grape harvest

mystery house


Toppenish Washington is a small town within the Yakima Nation Reservation. We go there to see the murals. Quite a sight they are! All 67 plus depict some aspect of local history between 1850 and 1950.

We want to take the horse drawn, covered wagon tour, but at the Visitors Welcome Center, we are told, "The driver stopped in this morning and said he had other things to do today."

Next to the triangular park, the grape harvest is illustrated with greens, purples, and hard working people. I can see maybe a dozen murals from here, the figures stand out, some seem three dimensional.

We stop at the soda fountain for lunch. Then, we stroll the streets, gaping in one direction and another at the walls covered in color and action. Muscular horses run towards us, straining at the bit in their mouth. White men in suits make treaties, determine the outcome of legal cases, and carry guns. (Some things never change). White women teach school and beckon with a come hither glance toward the pleasures of the bordello. There is the Saturday market, farm dances, crews haying in the fields.

It is a poor community, mostly inhabited by people of color. Many windows are boarded up and some have iron bars over them. I wonder how it is, seeing this art, for those living here. At one store, the walls have murals and there is graffiti over it.

Seems to me the paintings offer beauty and hope in their portrayal of aspects of the past. Certainly the murals draw tourists (money) to the town.

I want to walk past the large painted vistas many times, for detail, for meditation, on how life was here and how it is.

I will be posting pictures of some of the murals as soon as possible.

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