History of 411 North Bellevue Ave, Walla Walla, WA


Legal Description

Green’s Annex Tax Lot 8A in Lot 4, Block 6

Full Legal Description

Beginning at a point in the East line of Lot 4 in Block 6 of the Amended Plat of Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla, as per plat thereof recorded in the office of the Auditor of Walla Walla County in Volume C of Plats, Page 32, which point is distant 66.1 feet South, measured along the East line of said Lot 4, from the Northeast corner of said Lot 4, a distance of 66.1 feet to the Northeast corner thereof; thence West, along the North line of said Lot 4, a distance of 117.0 feet; thence South, parallel to the East line of said Lot 4, a distance of 70.3 feet; thence Easterly in a straight line a distance of 117.3 feet; more or less, to the point of beginning.

Title and Occupant History

Washington Territory was created in 1853. In 1854, the new legislature created Walla Walla County, which stretched from the crest of the Cascade Mountains to the crest of the Rocky Mountains in the present states of Washington, Idaho and Montana. In 1855, Isaac Stevens held a council on the banks of Mill Creek at the present site of Walla Walla with representatives of regional Indian tribes to purchase land from them. The Yakamas, Cayuses and Walla Wallas were dissatisfied with the treaties and war followed. Missionaries, former French-Canadian employees of the Hudson Bay Company trading post at Wallula, and soldiers at the military Fort Walla Walla were the primary European occupants of the area prior to 1859, when it was opened for settlement. The U. S. Government, in a treaty signed on June 9, 1855 in Walla Walla and ratified on March 8, 1859 by President James Buchanan, acquired all of the land in the Walla Walla area from the Cayuse and Walla Walla Indian tribes.

Walla Walla was originally laid out by County Surveyor H. H. Case in 1859, even before its formal incorporation as a city in 1862, as a one-quarter mile square with its eastern side centered on the point where Main Street crossed Mill Creek (at roughly the point where it does now).  The City of Walla Walla received a Trustee Town site from the U. S. Government that consisted of 80 acres issued on July 20, 1869 by the Vancouver, W. T. District Land Office.

To this original area, additional parcels were annexed from time to time, usually with the name of the landowner of record at the time the additions were made. 411 North Bellevue Avenue is in Green’s Annex, adjacent to Green’s Park Addition, named for William Orville and Mary Frances Green (Green Park School bears their name). The original parcel, Green’s Park Addition, was purchased from John Haley in 1867 and covered 19½ acres north of Isaacs Street to Melrose Avenue, which was the northern city limit, bordered on the west side by Clinton Street, and on the east by Division Street, which was the eastern city limit.

Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla was surveyed in October 1903 by L. W. Loehr, County Surveyor, and recorded on February 5, 1904. It was bisected diagonally in a southwest-northeast direction by the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company’s narrow gauge line that continued westerly through Green’s Park Addition via what is now Green Lane behind Green Park School. The plat map for Green’s Annex indicates that what is now North Bellevue Avenue was then known as Red Street, followed in sequence eastward by White Street and Blue Street; this most likely was not a coincidence – the Red, White & Blue streets!

Green’s Annex extended east to Wellington Street. The documents of record for 411 North Bellevue mention only Mary F. Green, a widow, who following the death of her husband in 1878 continued to be very active in real estate with the Green Investment Company, of which she served as president until her death in 1911. Deeds for lots sold in Green’s Park Addition contained a clause that stipulated any house erected had to have a value of at least $2,000, and be constructed within a specified time, in order to discourage land speculators. No such requirements could be found pertaining to lots in Green’s Annex.

Recorded Documents

5/9/1906, Warranty Deed, Mary F. Green, a widow, grantor; D. H. DeWitt, grantee; $275, for all the current property plus the remainder of Lot 4 and a portion of Lot 3 in Block 6 of Green’s Annex. Mr. DeWitt’s first listing in a Walla Walla City Directory was for the year 1905, when he resided at 310 Park and was listed as a laborer. The 1907 Directory listed Mr. DeWitt as residing at Portland and Red (now Bellevue); the 1909 Directory was more specific, listing David H. DeWitt as residing on “Portland n.w. corner Red.”

The full legal description on this 1906 Deed is as follows: All of Lot 4 of Block 6 of Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla, according to the Amended plat thereof and all that part of Lot 3 of said Block 6 of Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla, according to the Amended plat thereof, described as:

Beginning at a point on the South line of said Lot 3 208.71 feet Easterly from the South-west corner of said Lot 3 and running thence Easterly along the South line of said Lot 3 to the South-east corner thereof; thence Northerly along the East line of Lot 3 to the North-east corner thereof and thence Westerly along the North line of said Lot 3 to a point which is 208.71 feet Easterly from the North-west corner of said Lot 3; thence Southerly in a straight line to the point of beginning.

6/19/09, Homestead Declaration by D. H. DeWitt on “all of Lot 4 and the east 54 feet of Lot 3, all of Block 6, Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla (except for specific enumerated exclusions). Declarant further states he is head of a family and now resides with his family on said premises and hereby claims them as a homestead, actual cash value $2,000.” A homestead declaration protected a person’s principal residence from being seized by creditors and sold to satisfy a judgment, up to a certain valuation.

Deed (undated, though four other legal documents on the same recording page as this Deed are all dated in September or October 1909, so it may be assumed that this Deed was also signed and filed on one or the other of these two months) for the same property, D. H. DeWitt, a single man, grantor; Luella Myers, a widow, grantee; $1 and further considerations that she care for and nurse D. H. DeWitt during the remainder of his natural life…” 10/20/1909, Homestead Declaration by Luella Myers “on the premises described in the City and County of Walla Walla, to-wit: all of Lot 4 and the east 54 feet of Lot 3, all of Block 6, Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla (except for specific enumerated exclusions). Declarant further states she is a widow, is head of a family and resides with her family on the premises, value $2,000. The 1909 City Directory listed Luella Myers as a “nurse, boards D. H. DeWitt.”

5/12/1910, Indenture, Luella Myers, a widow, grantor; B. M. Huntington, grantee; commencing at the Northeast corner of Lot 4, Block 6, City of Walla Walla Green’s Annex, Westerly of Lot 4 and along the North line of Lot 3, Block 6 to a point 26.36 feet West of the Northeast corner of Lot 3; thence Southerly at right angles 74.72 feet; thence Easterly at right angles and parallel to the North lines of Lots 3 and 4 to the East line of Lot 4; thence Northerly to the place of the beginning, $500. An indenture is a deed, contract, or mortgage relating to real property.

6/18/1910, Indenture, Bert M. and Edith Huntington, grantors; John Sleeman, grantee; (same legal description as Indenture of 5/12/1910), $1,100. John Sleeman was a farmer and per City Directories did not reside at 411 North Bellevue.

5/27/1911, Deed, John and Jennet Sleeman, grantors; F. O. Bond, grantee; (same legal description as above), $700 plus interest and taxes. F. O. Bond was co-owner of Bush & Bond Livery Stables.

1/6/1915, Sheriff’s Deed to John Woodhall under Foreclosure of Mortgage proceedings, John Woodhall, plaintiff; John and Jennet Sleeman and F. O. Bond, defendants; property sold at public auction for $389.61. John Woodhall was a plasterer who was possibly taking legal action to collect an unpaid debt for services rendered.

11/9/1918, Indenture, B. M. and Edith Huntington, grantors; William Huntington, grantee; $1. Bert Huntington was a contractor and did not reside at 411 North Bellevue. William Huntington was his brother, and at the date of this Indenture was employed as a foreman for B. M. Huntington. Following foreclosure proceedings, there is often a right of redemption by parties with some right to the property. In this case, when the Huntingtons sold to Sleeman, they may have retained a mortgage, which gave them an interest in the property allowing them to redeem it by paying the amount of the judgment, which would explain this transaction three years after the sheriff’s sale.

12/20/1918, Indenture, John and Abbie Woodhall, grantors; William Huntington, grantee; $10. William Huntington resided at 822 Newell Street. More will be included under Construction of Building.

10/13/1921, Quit Claim Deed, E. A. Cassens, grantor; Anna M. Cassens, his wife, grantee; $1 to clear title. Though transfer of title to E. A. Cassens is not shown, he may have acquired a purchaser’s interest in the property through an unrecorded contract of sale, enabling him to make this transfer and to claim the property as a homestead.

11/26/21, Declaration of Homestead, E. A. Cassens declares as head of a household including himself, his wife and two minor children, that they are living on the premises, and he selects and claims the same for a homestead for said family, and exempt from execution as such said claim is also made in favor of his wife. Cassens’s listed address in the City Directory at the time was 403 Bellevue. The Cassens apparently defaulted on their purchase contract, after which title reverted to the Hungtingtons.

6/5/1946, Warranty Deed, William H. and Lydia Huntington, grantors; First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Walla Walla, grantee; $10 and other valuable considerations.

8/4/1958, Warranty Deed, First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Walla Walla, grantor; A. W. and Dorothy M. Norquist, grantees; $10 and other valuable considerations. The Norquists were not listed in the City Directory.

8/4/1958, Warranty Deed, Arthur W. and Dorothy M. Norquist, grantors; Harold D. and Eleanor M. Taylor, grantees; $10 and other valuable considerations. Mr. Taylor was a field agent for the State Department of Labor & Industries.

8/10/1961, Quit Claim Deed, Harold David Taylor, grantor; Eleanor Marie Taylor, grantee; “for over one and less than one-hundred dollars.”

11/10/1961, Quit Claim Deed, Eleanor Marie Taylor, grantor; Harold David Taylor, grantee; $1.

3/8/1962, Statutory Warranty Deed, David Taylor, in his own right, grantor; Richard and Marian Downing, grantees; $10 and other valuable considerations. The Downings continue to reside at 411 North Bellevue.

Construction of Building

At the time of the initial sale of Lot 4, Block 6 of Green’s Annex in 1906, the purchaser, D. H. DeWitt lived at 310 Park. However, it appears that he and Luella Myers were residing on the North Bellevue land no later than 1907, per City Directories. The 1909-10 Walla Walla City Directory listed DeWitt as living on “Portland nw corner Red,” Red being an earlier name for North Bellevue Avenue, and Myers was listed as a boarder at that address. This is likely the same house the address for which is now 403 North Bellevue. The property was sold to Bert M. Huntington in 1910, but he resided at the time across the street at 418 Red. He may have bought the property on speculation, as he sold it to John and Jennet Sleeman that same year, who lived on Edith Avenue and did not reside on the property on Bellevue. It is not known where the next owner, F. O. Bond, resided, and he was not listed in the 1911-12 City Directory. William Huntington, brother of Bert Huntington, on 11/9/1918, received title to the property. The house at 411 North Bellevue can be seen on the 1923 addition to the 1905 Sanborn Fire Map, where it appears to have the precise footprint of the structure currently on Lot 4, Block 6. The 1905 edition of the Sanborn Fire Map concluded with Page 60; 411 North Bellevue appears on Page 61, which was addedadded to the 1905 volume in 1923.

William Huntington had purchased a house and lot located at 822 Newell Street in 1918. A limited examination of deeds relative to this parcel, followed by a check of owners’ names with Walla Walla City Directory listings, disclosed that none of the owners resided on the property until 1900.

On 3/15/1899, an Indenture was filed transferring the property from Statira and W. S. Halley of Silver Bow, MT, grantors, to Mrs. B. Gorman, a widow, grantee. At that time, Mrs. Gorman resided at Lincoln and Madison in Walla Walla. The City Directory for 1900-01 contains the first listing for a person residing at the address on Newell: “Bridget Gorman, widow Robert, r 822 Newell,” thereby placing the probable date of construction for the house at 822 Newell as 1899. On 10/6/1915, an Indenture was filed from Mrs. B. Gorman, grantor, transferring the residence to W. H. Huntington, grantee, for $1.

On 11/9/1918, the same day he acquired Lot 4, Block 6 of Green’s Annex, William Huntington paid ten dollars for a building permit to move a house to 419 North Bellevue. (There is currently no 419 North Bellevue. This disparity between 419 and 411 may be due to a change in the house number after the moving permit was granted.) Along with the recording of this building permit were a Deed granted by John Woodhall and a Quit Claim Deed granted by Bert Huntington that same day to William Huntington. (These documents both appear in Title and Occupant History above as Indentures and were apparently filed to transfer and clear the title to the property.) It was noted that Mr. Huntington planned to move and remodel the house for a total cost of $1,000. The house on Newell does appear on the 1905 Sanborn Fire Map, with a quite different footprint from the current house at 411 North Bellevue, but it has since been pasted over (which was the practice of the time when updating properties) and later appears as a vacant lot. (The paste-over was done with thin paper, thus allowing the original footprint to be seen.)

What the current house presents is a simple 1½-story bungalow with a side-to-side gable roof and a smaller gable projecting over the central front porch. The sides of the upper story under the gables and the porch gable are shingled; siding on the first floor appears to be newer. The brick piers and round columns that support the porch gable may date to Huntington’s remodel, as do some of the windows, while other windows have been changed.

William Huntington was listed in the 1920 City Directory as residing at 411 North Bellevue, and continued to live there through at least 1937. There was no Directory published in 1938, and by 1939 his address had changed to 411½ North Bellevue. This small house was constructed in 1938 at the far end of the back yard of 411 North Bellevue and actually faces the little street called Minute Place that runs mid-block between Bellevue and Division. At the dogleg of Minute Place is a church; this structure was built originally as William Huntington’s cabinet shop.

The moving and remodeling of this house is described in a first person account by William H. Huntington’s eldest daughter, Ethel Maxson, entitled, “An Ordinary Family,” written about 1986 when she was 85 years old.

Because Bridget Gorman purchased the 822 Newell property early in 1899, and there was no City Directory for that year, a construction date of 1899 would appear appropriate for the house at 411 North Bellevue, with an explanation that it was moved to this location and remodeled by William H. Huntington in 1918.


Whitman Archives
Sanborn Fire Maps
Walla Walla City Directories
Walla Walla County Auditor
“An Ordinary Family,” family history as recorded by Ethel Maxson, daughter of William Huntington
Historic Survey Report: Green’s Park Addition. Donovan & Associates, Hood River, OR, 2013