Beginning at the point of intersection of the Southerly line of Main Street with the Easterly line of Spokane Street in the City of Walla Walla, Washington, and running thence South…along said …Spokane Street, a distance of 100 feet to the Northerly line of the alley; thence…East 31 feet, thence North…100 feet to a point in the Southerly line of Main Street, a distance of 31 feet to the point of beginning. Also, Beginning…31 feet from the point of intersection of…Main Street…with Spokane Street…along said Southerly line of Main street, a distance of 36.2 feet; thence south….100 feet to the Northerly line of the alley; thence …West along he Northerly line of said alley, a distance of 36.2 feet, thence North…100 feet to the point of beginning. (NE 1/4 of SW 1/4 of 20-7-36). Early legal description included language such as “…from the middle threads of Mill Creek east of south of a cotton wood stump 12” diameter and marked with 2 cuts…” Main Street was called Nez Perces Street in earliest descriptions.
Walla Walla was originally laid out by surveyor H.H. Chase in 1859, even before its formal incorporation as a city in 1862, as a one-quarter mile square oriented N-S, E-W and with its eastern side centered on the point where Main Street crossed Mill Creek (at roughly the point where it does now). To this original area, additional parcels were annexed from time to time, usually with the name of the land owner of record at the time the additions were made.
During 1862, A. J. Cain surveyed Cain’s Addition to the City (this survey was rerecorded on 5/11/1865, following a disastrous fire which destroyed most of the county’s earlier records). Cain’s Addition was adjacent to but did not include this property, which was often referred to as Cain’s homestead. The former residence of A. J. Cain was sold to William Wightman prior to 1864. In 1864 there were multiple legal actions involving this property including a Sheriff’s Sale and various loans and mechanic’s lien. On March 25, 1865 William Wightman signed a quit claim deed to Abraham Schwabacher for $2000. Later that same year Abraham gave a quit claim deed for a portion of this property to his brother Louis Schwabacher. In 1872 their brother Sigmund Schwabacher also shared in the ownership. The Schwabacher Brothers are best known for their department store at West Main and Third Streets which later became Gardners Department Store. Between 1884 and 1890 they also had Schwabacher Bros. Warehouse on this block of East Main as shown on the Sanborn Fire maps between 1884 and 1894. The Schwabachers are listed in city directories as residents of San Francisco. Louis Schwabacher’s heirs sold the property to John P. Kent and Joseph Tachi on April 9, 1902 for $8000.
John Kent ran a meat market on West Main in 1889. In 1902 he had a real estate office in the Dooley Building. By 1910 he ran a general insurance and loan business. He lived at 302 Poplar Street. Joseph Tachi came to Walla Walla in 1882 from Milan, Italy, only the third or fourth Italian to arrive here. He had $.25 when he arrived and worked very hard to “win a fortune out of market truck gardening by his own hands.” He and J. P. Kent owned “several valuable city business locations and suburban property rated to be worth $130,000.” (Bennett, page 142-3). Neither of these men apparently occupied their property on East Main.
202 East Main:
In 1904 Kent and Tachi agreed to sell the property at 202 E. Main to Clinton H. and Frances Bell Cummings for $4800. Cummings had a long association with this property, first as a clerk in his own grocery store at 202 E. Main (1905), then as a clerk in the Malcolm McLean Grocery located there in1907. Cummings took out a permit to remodel the frame buildings at 202 East Main on November 8, 1909. By 1911 Malcolm McLean had moved his grocery business to 128 E. Main and Clinton Cummings again ran his own grocery at 202 E. Main until 1914. Cummings had a complicated financial history on this property. After a Sheriff’s sale in 1917 it was purchased by the Malcolm McLean Grocery Company for $5000. McLean executed the Party Wall Agreement with R. C. MacLeod who owned 204 E. Main. On January 22, 1929 McLean sold 202 E. Main to Fred E. Gander for the stated consideration of $10. Fred and Lila Gander had run a bicycle store on First Street in 1914. In 1925 Fred and Hazel D. Ganders ran a sporting goods store at 16 1/2 E. Main which moved to 107 W. Main in 1929. They lived at 715 Washington at this time. Fred and Hazel signed a Prenuptial Agreement that all property was to be held separately. She signed a quit claim deed for this property to Fred in 1931. Gander’s estate was entered in probate in 1933. His three children sold 202 E. Main to A. J. and Josephine Naimy on October 10, 1945 for $16,500. Joseph Naimy’s estate sold this property to his son Arthur H. Naimy in 1971 for $35,000. Art and Inez Naimy sold to Stephen S. Rapp and Sharon Kamera on April 21, 2000.
204 East Main:
John Kent and Joseph Tachi sold 204 East Main (20.2’ wide extending back to the creek) to O. W. Hamich and Jacob Lamb on November 11, 1904 for $3600. In 1905 they opened Hamich & Lamb Bakery, renamed City Bakery by 1907. Oscar Hamich was not listed in the city directory in 1907. By 1912 the bakery was no longer in the city directory. In 1918 Daniel Eyraud had a shoe store at 204 1/2 E. Main. Jacob and Hedwig Lamb had multiple mortgages and loans, including from Edwin S. Isaacs, T. C. and Anna B. Elliot and R. C. MacLeod. Apparently Mr. MacLeod, the editor of Up-To-The-Minute-Times, ended up with the property at 204 E. Main because he negotiated a Party Wall Agreement with the Malcolm McLean Grocery Company in 1922. This agreement specified that a wall 10 inches wide by 18 feet high and 100 feet long would be shared by the two buildings. MacLeod’s heir, Charles M. MacLeod, sold this property to Zelda (Zeda?) C. Cochran, the widow of a local farmer, in 1944 for $1250. She sold 204 E. Main to Vern A. and Leta E. VanVranken on October 19, 1954 reciting a price of $10. Vern VanVranken had been listed in the city directory from 1908 as a “colr” (collier?) at P.T. & T. and Davis-Kaisers Furniture Store through 1915. They are not listed from 1917 until 1925 when he went to work at the Walla Walla Candy Company, a prelude to opening his own confectionery shop in 1926 at 204 East Main. They lived at 716 Washington across the street from Fred and Hazel Gander. VanVrankens sold 204 E. Main to Arthur H. and Inez L. Naimy on July 11, 1969. Naimys sold to Stephen S. Rapp and Sharon Kamera on April 21, 2000.
206 East Main:
John Kent and Joseph Tachi sold 206 E. Main to James Sauze on February 18, 1904 for $2000. In 1913 James Sauze took out two building permits to remodel the store front at 206 E. Main ($240.). It appears that he was unable to pay for his building. There were multiple liens, indentures, and mortgages. In 1928 R. C. MacLeod, editor of the Up-To-The-Minute-Times, took a mortgage on it. He lived at 309 Boyer. His heirs sold it in 1944 to Zelda (Zeda?) C. Cochran for $1250. She sold 206 E. Main to Vern A. and Leta E. VanVranken on October 19, 1954 for “$10.” VanVrankens sold 206 E. Main to Arthur and Inez Naimy on July 11, 1969. Naimys sold to Stephen S. Rapp and Sharon Kamera on April 21, 2000.
Early street addresses used no numbers or changed numbers, often using cross streets as a point of reference. Spokane Street did not exist until after 1905 so exact locations are difficult. City directories were first published in 1880 but did not start listing properties by street index until 1931. Prior to that time they had an index which listed businesses by categories. Looking for a specific address in the business index involves considerable luck. The first recorded occupant of this vicinity to be found in the Walla Walla City directories was R. L. Colby, boot and shoe maker, as 200 E. Main in 1902. A feed and livery stable was at 208 E. Main, possibly in the old Schwabacher warehouse, at that same time. The City Bakery and Malcolm McLean Grocery Company were the dominant occupants in 1905. The McLean Grocery was a thriving delivery business with two phones in 1908, three phones in 1909, and four phones in 1910. There is an excellent picture of The Malcolm McLean Grocery Co. and the City Bakery taken in 1908 in Bob Bennett’s second history, page 112. Apparently the bakery closed in 1912 and the Cummings grocery store closed in 1914. From this time until Naimy’s first purchase in 1945 there were many occupants of these three properties. In 1915-1917 the Economy Grocery occupied 202 E. Main. In 1925-1927 the East End Market sold meat here. MacMarr Grocery was in business in 1931-1932, the Pay’n Takit Grocery in 1933, Applings Grocery in 1935, Rosette Plumbing in 1937 and Western Auto Supply in 1939. There are no directories in 1940, 1942-1945. Naimy’s Furniture was in business by 1946.
At 204 E. Main in 1915 Henry Eversz operated a Dye and Cleaners. Henry was probably the son of E.W. Eversz, a prominent early day workworker who ran a furniture store at 121-113 Main Street which burned in the 1887 fire (Bennett, 1804-1899, p. 130). Also at this address in 1915 was one of 5 barbers on this block, Charles James. In 1925 Harry Griffith operated a cigar store in this location. Mr. Eversz had moved his cleaners (or the buildings were renumbered) to 206 E. Main . VanVranken’s confectionery store was opened at 204 E. Main in 1926-1927 where they continued to operate until 1946 using names of Van’s Cigars and Van’s Luncheonette. For many years another business person (alternately a barber or accountant) was also located at Vans. VanVrankens purchased both 204 and 206 E. Main in 1954 after their business was closed.
At 206 E. Main Mr. Eversz’s cleaners operated from 1915 until 1927. From 1929 the Williams Cleaners was in business here until 1939 when it became the Perfection Cleaners. By 1946 Clair W. Hobkirk is listed as “clo.prsr.” at this location.
In 1907, Adib Joseph Naimy was listed in the city directory as being a clerk for Michael Shark. From 1908 to 1941 Joe Naimy and Harry Winget owned and operated Garden City Furniture. By 1941 his son Arthur was working there as a salesman. The family lived at 612 E. Main. After Joe Naimy’s death his son Jerry was appointed personal representative of the estate in 1971. At this time a warranty deed was given to Art and Inez Naimy for 202 E. Main, finally combining all three properties under one owner for the first time since Kent and Tachi owned them in 1904.
Construction of the Buildings:
The earliest known structures at this location were shown on Sanborn Fire Maps. In 1884 the “Schwabacher Bro. Grain W. Ho.” is shown at #56 Main Street (Nez Perce) just east of where North Spokane intersected Main Street. South Spokane Street did not exist. The only other structure in this presumed-block was a shed adjoining Schwabacher’s warehouse on the east. The 1888-1889 fire map has an unmarked shed at #54, nothing as #55. “Staver and Warner’s Agr. Imp’s” had been added to the east of Schwabacher’s building. There were no significant changes to the “block” in 1890. By 1894 #56, where Schwabacher’s building was located the fire map simply labels the building “feed” but the number has been changed to 262 (with #55 and #57 on either side of it). By 1905 the O.K. Feed and Sale Stable is shown at 206-210 and three buildings to the west of the old Schwabacher building appear to be the locations of this property. These three buildings are numbered 202/55, 204/202, and 204 1/2. Spokane Street is shown as “proposed” on this map. The 1908 photograph of these buildings (Bennett, page 112) show frame construction with false fronts in typical western town style. No building permits were required prior to 1907 so old maps and pictures are the primary source of information on buildings.
The current brick building at 204-206 East Main was constructed by R. C. MacLeod following his permit to build a “new store building and cleaning building” for $7500 on June 26, 1922. The brick building on the west corner of this block, 202 E. Main, was constructed following a permit taken by F. E. Gander for a “new building” costing $8600 on April 29, 1929. Taylor and Gross were the contractors.
Bennett, Robert A., Walla Walla A Town Built to be a City 1900-1919, Pioneer Press, Walla Walla, 1982.
Building permits: Whitman College Penrose Library, Larry Dodd, Archivist
Sanborn Fire Maps: 1884-1905 (with updates until 1950)
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