History of 418 North Bellevue Avenue, Walla Walla, WA


Legal Description

The South 68.72 feet of Lot 2 in Block 7 of the amended Plat of Green’s Annex to the City of Walla Walla, as per plat thereof recorded in Volume C of Plats at page 32, records of Walla Walla County, situate in the County of Walla Walla, State of Washington.

Title History

The land that comprises the City of Walla Walla was acquired from the Cayuse and Walla Walla Indian tribes by 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. Walla Walla was originally laid out by surveyor H.H. Case in 1859, even before its formal incorporation as a city in 1862, as a one-quarter mile square oriented N-S, E-W 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. Green’s Annex is named for William O. Green and Mary F. Green (Green Park School bears their name). The documents for this property mention only Mary F. Green, by then a widow, who following the death of her husband, continued to be active in real estate development.

Bert M. Huntington bought all of lot 2, Block 7 from Mary F. Green on September 20, 1907 for $500. The current lot size seems to have been defined around 1910. The Huntingtons are listed in the city directory as residing at 418 N. Bellevue from 1911 until 1914. There was no building permit listed for construction of the house in spite of the fact that permit records are intact from September 1907. Perhaps this is explained because Huntington was a contractor and didn’t obtain a permit for his own house. On March 19, 1914, Huntington sold to Howard W. Beach and Ruth Beach from Umatilla Co.Oregon. There was no stated amount for this transaction. Beach was listed as a farmer and he obtained the only building permit issued for this property which was for a barn. On April 9, 1918 the Beaches sold to Marie Vera Axelrod for $3500. Several documents pertained to Marie Axelrod’s intent to do real estate transactions in her name only, excluding her husband’s involvement. There is no listing of where the Axelrods lived. Perhaps they chose not to be listed in the City Directory, or the house was rented from 1918-1920. On March 12, 1920 Marie Axelrod sold 418 N. Bellevue to Mason G. Whitman and Bessie J. Whitman for $3150. Mason Whitman had the Walla Walla Tire Shop. The Whitmans rented the house out from 1937-1945.

On August 6, 1945 the Whitmans sold the house to Charles F. Rader and Mary P. Rader. The Raders owned the house until 1950 when they sold it to David D. Wright and Mary E. Wright. On June 6, 1952 the Wrights sold to Harold C. Clements and Nellie Clements. There were no stated amounts for these three sales. The Clements are listed as residing at 418 N. Bellevue when the Wrights owned it as well as when they owned it. On June 27, 1952 the Clements sold to Lynn E. Sanders and Dorothy Sanders. The Sanders took out a $6750 mortgage giving some indication of the price of the sale. Lynn Sanders was a city fireman. Again the residents were mostly renters during the time that the Sanders owned the house. On March 29, 1963 the Sanders sold to Kenneth E. Wasser and Kathlyn E. Wasser. The Assessor’s Office lists $6470 as the sale price. The Wassers seem to have used the house as a rental from 1963-1967. In 1967 there is record of a Real Estate Contract negotiated by the Wassers with Gary W. Davidson and Linda Jane Davidson, who lived in the house from 1966-1971. Gary Davidson worked at Walla Walla Mills, Inc.and as a service station attendant. On September 3, 1971 Wasser resumed ownership of the house and in 1972 it was again a rental. On May 17, 1972 the Wassers sold to Glen Graham Geissel and Karen Lee Geissel for $12,500. Glen Geissel was a mail carrier. On June 4, 1974 the Geissels sold to Robert (Jerry) Ledford and Sharie L. Ledford for $15,500. Jerry Ledford is employed at Key Technology and Sharie Ledford is an RN in charge of infection control at St. Mary’s Hospital. The house was valued at $112,300 in 2003.

Construction of the house

On the back of the folder for 418 N. Bellevue at the Walla Walla County Assessor’s Office, 1916 is given as the building date. That date is not correct. The file also lists 1911 as a possible building date and the sidewalk in front of the house is stamped with “B.M. Huntington, 1911.” 1911 does seem to be the correct construction date, which coincides with the first directory listing of the owners at this address.

The remodeling of the house is obvious from its appearance. The original house was incorporated into its remodeled version. There is no documentation for a date for the remodeling project. This is a house that has some typical Craftsman exterior architectural features such as decorative shingling on the exterior walls just below the roof line and roof supports on the overhang often used in this style. On the front roof there is what is called a “shed dormer,”which is a remnant of the house as it was before it was remodeled. The remodeling of this house involved enclosing an L-shaped front and side porch to provide more interior living space. There is a second floor addition which was done by the Ledfords in 1980 providing them with a master bedroom and bath.

Resources used for this reseach:

Pioneer Title Co. for documents for this property

Penrose Library Northwest Archives, Whitman College

Walla Walla Public Library for City Directories

Sanborn Fire Maps

Walla Walla County Assessor’s Files

Interview with Sharie Ledford, current owner


Katherine H. Weingart
Walla Walla 2020 Research Service
P.O. Box 1222
Walla Walla WA 99362
December 12, 2005