History of 5 West Alder Street, Walla Walla, WA – Drumheller Building


Legal Description (abbreviated):

Lots 1 and 2 in Block 14 of the Original City of Walla Walla.

Title and Occupant History:

May 29, 1862–Robert Horton sold lot 2 in Block 14 to W. A. Ball for $150. (Deed Book B, Page 391, hereinafter B/391)

February 12, 1866–City of Walla Walla recognize ownership of lot 2 in Block 14 by William A. Ball and B. F. Stone, copartners in firm of Ball & Stone. (E/1I9)

February 14, 1866–City of Walla Walla sold lot 1 in Block 14 and several other lots to John F. Abbot for $40. (K/431)

February 28, 1867 –W. A. Ball and B. F. Stone sold the east half of lot 2 in Block 14 to M. B. Ward for $200. (E/397)

December 16, 1879–William A. Ball sold the west half of lot 2 in Block 14 to Mrs. Eugenie Timberlake for $1 and other valuable consideration. (S/376)

January 22, 1891–M. B. Ward leased the house and lot known as #7 Alder St to Miss Annie Baker for $15/month from January 7, 1891 to January 7, 1893. (47/259)

April 20, 1903–Amelia Ward, a widow, and Augusta W. Rees, her daughter, sold the east half of lot 2 to Gus Harras for $6000. (85/466)

December 30, 1903–Party Wall agreement between Gus Harras, who desired to build a one- or more story brick building on the east half of lot 2 with a wall from Alder St, to the alley, and Susan Abbot, owner of lot 1. They agreed wall would “stand one-half upon the line of each of the parties” properties. (90/527)

January 13, 1904–Party Wall agreement between Gus Harras (see above) and Mrs. Eugenie Timberlake, owner of the west half of lot 2. They agreed to a wall one-half on the line of each of their properties. (90/602)

September 19, 1904–Susan Abbot, a widow, sold lot I to Oscar Drumheller for $14,000. (94/19) �

October 28, 1904–0scar and Elizabeth K. Drumheller, husband and wife, sold lot 1 to the Drumheller Co. for $14,000. (94/118)

March 25, 1909–Eugenie Schleicher, formerly E. Timberlake, and Robert Schleicher, her husband, sold the west half of lot 2 to the Drumheller Co. for $10,000.(112/18)

March 26, 1909–Gus and Anna Harras, husband and wife, sold the east half of lot 2 to the Drumheller Co., a corporation, for $12,000. (115/378)

Jesse Drumheller settled in Walla Walla in 1859 as a stockman and rancher. He married Martha Maxson in 1863 and they had six children: Sam, Oscar, Albert, George, Tom, Althea, and Roscoe. He acquired large land holdings over the next 30 years, retiring in 1890 and turning his land holdings over to his sons. He backed his sons Oscar and Tom when they bought William O’Donnell’s hardware business- in 1900. The Drumheller Co. started officially under the management of Oscar and moved to 2nd and Alder in 1904.

Construction of the Building: The original Drumheller Building was erected in 1904 according to R. A. Bennett, Walla Walla: A Town Built to be a City. 1900-1919, p. 27, and Walla Walla: The Garden City, a pamphlet circa 1910, p. 18 (Whitman College Archives). Also John Drumheller remembers (and has documents and photographs) the family history about the construction of the original Drumheller Building.

The photographs in the two sources show the Gus Harras Building abutting it in 1907. This was probably built around the same time, if not a little earlier.

The third building which is part of the Drumheller Building today was probably built in 1910. The 1909 Standard Atlas of Walla Walla shows lot 3 as vacant. The building permits below show considerable construction was planned for 1909-10.

The earliest building permit records are in the Whitman Archives and in the book for 1907-13, they list the following permits for the Drumheller Co.:

September 23, 1909–$11,000 brick store building (which is probably the building attached to the Harras Building) at Alder & 2nd, builder J. A. McLean. (p. 76, #623)

March 29, 1910–$19,500 remodel of store and office building at Alder & 2nd, builder Bailey & Lambert. (p. 92, #745)

March 6, 1913–$150 remodel of fronts, Alder & 2nd, builder Bailey & Lambert. (p. 188, #1513)

November 22, 1910–the Drumheller Co. leased 5 rooms to Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. for one year, from November I, 1910, for $40/month. (122/476)

March 1, 1920–the Drumheller Co., a corporation, conveyed lots I and 2 in Block 14 of the original city of Walla Walla to the Whitehouse-Drumheller Co., a corporation, for $10 and other valuable considerations. (Deed #145480)

August 16, 1984–the Drumheller Co., a Washington corporation, sold lots I, 2, 3, east 20 feet of lot 4, 8, and 9–all in Block 14 of the original City of Walla Walla–to Martin Archery, Inc., a Washington corporation. (Deed #8407532, see also Real Estate Contract #8405790)

Occupations at the site of the building:

R. A. Bennett’s Walla Walla: Portrait of a Western Town. 1804-1899, shows Wigwam Farm Machinery at the corner of 2nd and Alder in 1883 on p. 124. The panoramic view of Walla Walla in 1884 shows the samestructure, pp.127 -128.

R. A. Bennett’s Walla Walla: A Town Built to be a City, 1900-1919 shows Harras Meat Market next to the Drumheller Building in 1907, p. 27, and mentions that the Baker-Boyer Bank moved into temporary quarters in the Drumheller Building while constructing its new building in 1910-11, p. 123.

The last source also mentions that the Dime Theater was located next door to Drumheller’s in 1908, p. 136. And that the Drumheller Co. bought J. L. Elam’s farm implement company in 1905, p. 105.

The Whitman Archives contain the city directories for 1880-1992, with several years missing, the following information comes from them:

2nd southwest corner of Alder:

Joseph L. Miller, carriages, 1889-1898.

Ezekial Smith, wagon maker, 1898-1901.

Jens Anderson, carriage and wagon maker, 1902.

1 W. Alder: Whitehouse-Drumheller Co., 1914-1948.

Drumheller Co., 1951-1992.

3 W. Alder: Drumheller Building, 1931-1992.

7 W. Alder: City Meat Market (Gustav H arras) , 1904-1907. c

The Orpheum Theatre (listed at 7 1/2), 1908.

Dime Theatre (listed at 7 1/2). 1909-10.

Drumheller Sports, 1986-92.

The occupants of the upper floors will not all be listed herein, but the Pioneer Title Co. records show leases for many state agencies (The Washington State Liquor Control Board, Tax Commission (later, the Department of Revenue), Vocational Education & Rehabilitation Department, Department of Social & Health Services, Department of Labor & Industries, Board of Prison Terms & Paroles, Department of Public Assistance, and Veterans Rehabilitation) from 1947 to 1974.

prepared by Michael W. Smith, 3/95