Monday, July 6, 2009

St. Joseph Mission at the Ahtanum

To start off our new Nature Study program, based on the Outdoor Hour Challenges and The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, we went to a new park. Well, new to us anyway! St. Joseph Mission at the Ahtanum, also known as Ahtanum Mission Park, is lovely, quiet and pretty, clean, and serene. There are apple trees, the creek, grassy areas, picnic tables and shelters, a swing set and slide. It is shady and cool and wonderful on a hot day, far enough out of the way to feel special, different.
The church building, still used for services, is simple and sweet and pure. I love little churches like this- just plain pews, altar- it feels like it's easier for God to hear our prayers than in a fancy, ornate building. Like everything is laid bare, honest and clear.

The relief telling the story of the Mission. The figures are not adult life-size, but they are just about the size of Miles.

The Memorial Pillars. The boys weren't all that interested in the names and dates, but did find it fun to squeeze between the tall stones.

Avery, looking very teenager-y to me. I can't stand it, sometimes! What happened to my little baby?

Miles in the teepee. There's another one, more like the indigenous shelters- covered in tule reed mats. The boys liked this big one, though, because it had some decorations from a party inside.

The little cabin where the priests lived and services were performed before the church was built.

Ansel, getting chubby and loving the sun, the grass, the outdoors. What's better than a day at the park?
The Mission was built in 1852, at the request of the Yakama Indian Chief Kamiakin. He brought meat to the starving priests, who began teaching the Yakamas farming, and began working the land, digging irrigation canals, and growing squash, corn, wheat, melon, and potatoes. The priests also taught the Indians French, Latin, and English, and compiled a dictionary of the Yakama Language. The Mission was burned to the ground during the Yakima Indian War in 1855, when US soldiers discovered a cask of gunpowder hidden under ground. It was reestablished in 1867, when the first apple orchard in the Yakima Valley was planted there.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I do think that is one of the most beautiful parks in the area, I think we'll make a point to head out there soon, I had forgotten about it, thank you.