History of 15 South Spokane Street, Walla Walla, WA – O.D. Keen Building


Property Description:

Beginning at a point in the Northeasterly line of Spokane Street which is 120 feet Southeasterly, measured along said Northeasterly line of Spokane Street, from the Southeasterly line of Main Street in the City of Walla Walla, Washington, and which point is the point of intersection of said northeasterly line of Spokane Street with the Southeasterly line of the alley extending from Spokane Street to Palouse Street; thence South …East, along said Northeasterly line of Spokane Street, a distance of 34.0 feet; thence North…East, parallel to the Southeasterly line of Main Street, a distance of 114.66 feet; thence North…West 34.0 feet to a point in the Southeasterly line of the aforesaid alley; thence South…West, along the Southeasterly line of said alley, a distance of 114.66 feet to THE POINT OF BEGINNING.

Title History:

The property where the warehouse is located was once part of the parcels at 202, 204 and 206 East Main which went from the street to the “middle threads of Mill Creek” and therefore shared that history from 1864. The present file at the title company is designated “special plat” and shares parts of several other parcels. By reviewing several of the adjacent files it appears that the Malcolm McLean Grocery Company (located at 202 E. Main in 1907-1912) obtained title to some of the property in a sheriff’s sale in 1928. McLean sold different parcels to O.D. Keen who owned the Keen Apartments between the warehouse and Mill Creek. The first entry on the special plat file is a warranty deed from Orland D. and Bertha O. Keen to Wallace G. and Minnie Hunt and Eric D. and Naomi Lindstrom for a consideration of $10 on September 19, 1944. At the time of the sale all the parties signed a Party Wall Agreement that allowed the grantors to use the south wall of this property to attach beams, etc. for construction of a building. Wallace Hunt died March 14, 1953 and his probate inventory lists the total value of this property as $14,000. Eric and Naomi Lindstrom operated an automotive repair shop there until they sold to Arthur H. and Inez L. Naimy on September 15, 1967. Art’s mother Josephine Naimy also had an interest in this property until her estate was settled in 1971. Art and Inez Naimy sold this property along with the adjacent property at 202-206 East Main Street to Stephen S. Rapp and Sharon Kamera on April 21, 2000.

Construction of the Building:

The first use of 15 S. Spokane Street as an address in a city directory was in 1935 when the Battery and Electric Service (Official Willard Service Station) was located here.  Mrs. Alice M. Clark (widow) and William E. Kinzie ran it. At this same time the Hunt and Lindstrom auto repair shop was across the street at 18 S. Spokane Street. In 1937 Messenger Delivery was located at 19 S. Spokane Street between Mill Creek and the warehouse. George Elkington was manager of a motorcycle messenger service and was the official dealer for Indian Motorcycles. Mr. Elkington listed it as his residence also. The Spokesman Review Agency was also in this  building which was known as the Keen Apartments until 1963.  In 1946 Hunt and Lindstrom Auto Repair shop moved across the street to the present location of the warehouse. They continued in business at this location until 1967.  The Sanborn Fire Map last updated in 1952 shows the footprint of the present building. A building permit was issued to C. L. Spence, O. D. Keen, contractor, for a “metal work shop” at this location on February 13, 1939. The permit was for $150. It appears that this was the construction date of the present building, although the building permit files in the Whitman Archives end in 1939.


Building permits: Whitman College Penrose Library(1907-1939), Larry Dodd, Archivist

Sanborn Fire Maps: 1884-1905 (with updates until 1952)

Walla Walla City Directories: 1880-present (various publishers–not all years)

Mary E. Meeker
Walla Walla 2020 Research Service
PO Box 1222, Walla Walla WA 99362
February, 2001