History of 121 West Fifth Street, Waitsburg, WA

Legal Description:

Lots 7 and 8 in Block 3 of Bruce’s Addition to the Town of Waitsburg, Book A of Plats, page 31 in office of the Auditor of Walla Walla County. Washington.

 Title and Occupant History:

September 30, 1871–the Addition of W. R Bruce to the Town of Waitsburg was platted by William P. and Caroline Bruce, husband and wife, in the West one-half of the S.W. quarter of Section II. Township 9 N .� Range 37 East of the Willamette Meridian, in Walla Walla County, Washington Territory.

Waitsburg stands on land claimed by William Perry Bruce, who came to the area in 1861. “In 1863 he donated part of the land for the area’s first business, the mill, …, and, in 1868 surveyed and platted the ‘town of Waitsburg’ which included only Main St. and a block on either side. “He helped found the Walla Walla Union newspaper that same year and was elected county commissioner for old Walla Walla County in 1872. He contributed to many public enterprises and was a farmer and merchant. His wife was also “energetic and public-spirited” and is “remembered for the ice cream socials held in the spacious yard” of their showpiece home. (Vance Orchard. compiler & writer. Waitsburg: “0ne of a Kind“; published by the Waitsburg Historical Society in 1976. p. vii)” ��������� )

November 13, 1878–William P. and Caroline A. Bruce sold lots 7 & 8 of “Block 3, Bruce’s Addition to Mary Land for $75. (Deed Book a, Page 470: hereinafter Q/470)

March 7, 1879–Mary and Benjamin K. Land, husband and wife, property described above to William Fudge for $400: (R/IOI)

B. K. Land was the first editor of the Waitsburg Times when it was launched on March 16, 1878, �It is said that the first issue of the Waitsburg Times was published in this house [the house built at 121 W. 5th and moved to W. 6th 8t. in 1904 or 1905]. (Waitsburg: “0ne of a Kind”, pp. 47 & 96) The panoramic view inside the front cover of this book shows this house. possibly built by Mr. Land, on the property in 1884.

William Fudge was a member of the Washington Territory legislature. (Waitsburg. p. 114)

August 15. 1887–William Fudge made an agreement to transfer the property to Edwin W. McCann by October I. 1889. (39/285) McCann in turn

made an agreement July 24. 1889 to deliver the property to William McKinney by October I. 1889. (44/421) On August 27. 1889 a deed was signed to transfer the property’s ownership from William & Elizabeth Fudge. husband and wife. to William McKinney for $1200. (43/270)

Edwin W. McCann bought the hardware business of 1: C. Taylor and Co. in 1887 when he and his partner, L. H. Macomber, came to the town from Minnesota with their families. He was mayor of Waitsburg in 1898-99. (Waitsburg. p. 61)

June 9. 1888–the Town of Waitsburg passed Ordinance # 61 to close the alleys–running north and south from 4th to 6th Streets through blocks 2 and 3– in Bruce’s First Addition to the Town of Waitsburg. (40/433)

May 7. 1889–the Town of Waitsburg passed an ordinance to change the numbering of blocks in Bruce’s Addition to Waitsburg. (44/46)

January 8. 1894-William and Sarah J. McKinney took a mortgage loan of $5081.90 on the property from Miles Moore. Edwin Baker. Henry Baker and Walla Walla Willie Baker. executors of Dorsey S. Baker, deceased. (Mortgage Book 43. page 56) This mortgage was recorded as fully paid on October 6. 1897~” (Mortgage Book 48. page 465)

William McKinney was a volunteer who served in the Indian War of 1855-56. In 1858 he returned to the territory as a packer in the service of the government; in 1859 he lived in Walla Walla County working in stock raising. packing. and mining for about two years. He then homesteaded a mile west of Waitsburg. raising cattle and farming. A thrifty and industrious man. by 1901 he owned 553 acres “with all the buildings. implements. and stock necessary to farm in a first-class manner.” He married Sarah Paulson in 1865 and they had four children, Frank, William,

Thomas V. and Emma . (W .D. Lyman. History of Walla Walla County. W H. Lever. publisher. 1901. p. 393. See also Waitsburg. pp. 40, 41, 96 and Waits Mill: The Story of the Communjty of Waitsburg, Washington by Ellis and Elvira Laidlaw. Chicago: Adams Press. 1970, p. 210.)

Construction of the House: On page 96 in Waitsburg it states that the McKinney’s built the house in 1905, having lived in the house” that was on the property until their new home was finished. This is. probably the most reliable date. although the Walla Walla Assessor’s records have 1908 as the year built. their. records are not authoritive. To check further into the history of the house’s construction. I would suggest Mrs. Lee Mantz, Sr. McKinney; the Waitsburg Historical Society; or two sources suggested by Mary Koch, a Walla Walla historian of buildings: Mrs. Gladys. Fletcher and Mrs. William Zuger of Waitsburg.

April 24, 1906–William and Sarah McKinney granted a right of way to the City of Waitsburg for a sewer pipe line. (107/306)

February 19, 1914-~William and Sarah McKinney deeded the property to Thomas V. McKinney and Emma McKinney, their son and daughter, retaining the right of possession during the lifetime of either. (1311477)

Thomas V. McKinney was mayor of Waitsburg from 1901-1902; Emma� McKinney was a dressmaker. (Waitsburg, p. 113; History of Walla Walla County, p. 393.).

April 19, 1926–T. V. McKinney and Maud Lyon McKinney, husband and wife, and Emma McKinney Peterson and H. P. Peterson, husband and wife, sold the property to J. E. Butler for $10 “and other valuable considerations.�

Polk’s Walla Walla City and County Directory for 1925-26 lists J. E. Butler as Cashier First National Bank of Waitsburg. On p. 109 of Waitsburg, James Earle Butler is described as the son of Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Butler, pioneers of the Pacific Northwest who came to Waitsburg in 1895. J. E. Butler attended Washington State College and was first associated with the First National Bank of Waitsburg’) in 1907. In 1915 he married Bess L Fishback. a teacher at Waitsburg High School. He was active in civic affairs; one project he worked on was the creation and development of the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park between Waitsburg and Dayton. When he died in 1954, he was director and cashier of the First National Bank of Waitsburg.

August 29, 1955–Bess F. Butler, individually and as executrix of JamesE. Butler, deceased, sold the property to S. A. Hevel for $10 “and other valuable considerations.” (275/55)

Hart�s Walla Walla Residents and Business Registrations for 1956 lists S. R. Hevel as a doctor living at 121 W. 5th in Waitsburg. .Waitsburg. on p. 96, mentions that Dr. S. R. Hevel of Portland moved to. Waitsburg in 1953 and had purchased the medical building on Preston Avenue’ formerly occupied by Dr. E. J. Lewis.

February 12, 1991–S. A. and Laura Jean Hevel, husband and wife, sold the property to Daniel A. and Virginia M. Butler, husband and wife. (187/1525)


prepared by Michael W. Smith, 1/95