History of 5 East Main Street, Walla Walla, WA


Legal Description (abbreviated):

East 13 feet 9 inches of lot 9 and West 29 feet 4 inches of lot 10 in Block 10 of the original City of Walla Walla.

Title and Occupant History:

February 20, 1860–Robert Vint sold lot 9 in Block 1–situated in Steptoeville, Walla Walla County, Washington Territory–to Joseph & Co. [Joseph Shute & Co.] for $300. (B/50)

May 30, 1860–Joseph Shute sold an undivided half of lot 9 in Block 1, “said lot has formerly been known as Shute & Co. House and Lot,”  to William Stephens for $150. (B/80)

June 16, 1860–Rufus Hardy sold an undivided half of lot 9 in Block 1 to Willam Stephens for $150. (B/86)

September I, 1860–C. D. Wynett sold “all my right, title and interest to and in a House and House fixtures, said House is located in the town of Walla Walla on Maine (sic) street and described in the town plat as Lot No. 10 in Block No. I (one)” to Stephen Buckley for $900. (B/92)

May I, 1861–Stephen Buckley sold the west half of lot 10 (34 feet by 120 feet) in Block 1 to a Mr. Keyger for $300. (0/61)

February 23, 1866–City of Walla Walla recognized William Stephens ownership of “certain fractions of lots 9 and 10 in Block 1” (54 feet along Main St. and back to the alley) for $10. (E/59)

W. J. Tompkins and Mulford Martin, parties in trade in Walla Walla under the firm name and style of W. J. Tompkins & Co., sold the west half of lot 10 in Block 1 to Dorsey S. Baker for $4052.25. (E/408)

March 11, 1867 –Dorsey S. Baker sold “all that certain building situated and being on the West half of Lot number ten (10) in Block number one (I) in the City of Walla Walla…” and the lot it was on to William Stephens for $2000. (E/420)

Dorsey S. Baker opened a store in Walla Walla on the site of the Baker-Boyer Bank in October, 1859 with William Stephens in charge until he arrived in 1860.

Construction of the Building: In R. A. Bennetts Walla Walla: Portrait of a Western Town. 1804-1899, the fire of Monday, October 18, 1875 is said to have burned “all the wooden buildings on the north side of Main Street between Second Street and Small’s Opera House…” including that of William Stephens at a loss of $5,000. (p. 89) A picture on page 93 shows the newly built store of Johnson, Rees and Winans and a bit of Stephens new one-story brick building. This building–labeled Mark F. Colt–is also shown on p. 107 in an 1881 lithograph and on p. 110 in an 1882 lithograph–labeled Stephens Block–with a second story. (see also p. 125, for an 1883 photo)

March 17, 1890–Contract between W. P. Winans, Augusta W. Rees, Frank W. Rees and Elma Rees, parties of the first part, and William Stephens, party of the second part, for the extension of a party wall (existing wall extended 70 feet back from Main St.) 50 feet more to alley and three stories high to be built by the parties of the first part, who ” … shall fix the roof and the front firewall of the present building of the party of the second part in as good repair and condition as the same now are in and shall so construct said partition wall as not in anywise to damage or injure the present wall or building of the said party of the second part. II (45/453)

April 8, 1890–William Stephens, an unmarried man, sold the property in the current property description ( 43 feet I inch by 120 feet) to Easton B. Goodrich and George L. Fitzhugh for $20,500. (45/547)

February 8, 1893–George L. and Mamie Fitzhugh, husband and wife, sold an undivided half of the property to L. W. Estes for $12,500. (51/396)

February 18, 1893–Easton B. and Mary Goodrich, husband and wife, sold an undivided half of the property to L. W. Estes for $12,500. (51/397)

January 6, 1897 –L. W. Estes sold the property in the legal description to Viola Estes for $9,250. (62/149)

March 18, 1903–Viola and L. W. Estes, wife and husband, sold the property to Lucie Isaacs, widow of Henry P. Isaacs, for $25,000. (85/331)

Henry P. Isaacs started several flour mills in eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon. He was active in civic affairs. His wife and family were involved extensively in real estate.

April 21, 1904–Lucie Isaacs sold the property to Jacob Betz for $1 “and other valuable considerations.” (89/439)

Jacob Betz was a German brewer who came to Walla Walla in 1874. He owned and operated the Star Brewery and was active in city politics.

November 22, 1912–Probate will of Jacob Betz, deceased. of Tacoma. Property inherited by widow, Augusta Betz, and appraised at $18.060. (#143189. see also a copy of the will. #143024)

July 2. 1913–Party Wall Agreement made by Augusta Betz, party of the first part, and Cora M. Barrett, Annie M. Barrett and Parker Barrett, parties of the second part and owners of adjoining property to the east. Party of the first part desired to build a 1I0ne story brick building with cement foundation (with the privilege later on. if she so desires. of building an additional one story of brick to the said one story brick building) to be and constitute the basement wall of not less than 16 inches in width, the depth of which to be the same as the present basement wall constructed by said second parties…” (132/416)

September 9, 1913–Mrs. J. Betz filed permit # 1609 in Building Permits Book 1913-1917 for an addition and remodel to 5-7 E. Main. The builder was listed as Nick Wierk and the amount as $4015. (Whitman Archives)

October 1913–Up-to-the-Times Magazine, published by the Walla Walla Publishing Co., announced “New store fronts and a rear extension are new improvements to the Betz Building. 31 East Main Street. Walla Walla. Permit price. $4000.” (p. 5364)

These last two items seem to indicate a discrepancy in filing or in news reporting. There was no building permit filed for 31 E. Main from April to November in 1913.

June 14. 1927–Probate will of Augusta Betz, deceased of Tacoma. Katherine Betz Zimmermann inherited the property in the legal description. known as the Isaacs Building. (#1660024)

December 20. 1939–Probate of will of Katherine Betz Zimmermann. deceased, of Tacoma. Property inherited by Augustine Elias Betz, Jr. (#246724)

August 7, 1951–Lorraine E. Betz, grantor, conveyed and quit claimed her interest in the property to A. E. Betz, husband of the grantor, for $1 and other good and valuable considerations. (#347089)

October 30, 1967 –Lease Agreement between A. E. Betz, Jr. and the City of Walla Walla to permit off-street parking area. (#508845, see also 3361465, lease agreement November 16, 1967)

May 13, 1986–A. E. Betz, Jr. sold the property in the legal description to Edifice Wrecks (Bruce A. Buchanan and Jeanie C. Garske, husband and wife; Timothy and Laura Copeland, husband and wife; and Robert L. and Christine L. Zagelow, husband and wife) for $70,000. (#8603402)

December 31, 1986–Edifice Wrecks sold the property to Michael M. May and Adrianne May, husband and wife. (Real Estate Contract #8610405, see also fulfillment #8908095 and #8908096)

Occupancy of 5 E. Main: (mostly from city directories)

1859: Martin’s Boarding House (Bennett, Portrait of a Western Town, 47). 1877: undertaking establishment? (Ibid., 96).

1880-1882: Mark F. Colt, general merchandise.

1883-1892: Dusenbery Bros., later H. Dusenbery & Co., general merchandise, 5 & 7 Main st.

1893-1935: J. C. Hockett & Co., later Hockett Drug Co., Inc. 1936: no directory.

1937: Boyd Drug Co. 1938: no directory.

1939-1969: Dorothy Greenough’s Shop, women’s clothing. 1970-1987: The Villager.

1988: vacant.

1989: present: Pioneer Title.


prepared by Michael W. Smith, 4/95