History of 50 Brookside Drive, Walla Walla, WA


Legal Description:

Parcel A:

Beginning at a point which is ascertained by beginning at the point of intersection of the Northerly line of Boyer Avenue with the Westerly line of Clinton Street in City of Walla Walla, Washington; thence Northerly and along said Westerly line of Clinton Street, 120 feet; thence Westerly, parallel to said Northerly line of Boyer Avenue, 100 feet, which is the point of beginning first above mentioned; thence Northerly, parallel to said Westerly line of Clinton St., 60 feet, thence Westerly, parallel to said Northerly line of Boyer Ave. 126.37 feet; thence Southerly 60.07 feet to a point where a line drawn parallel to the Northerly line of Boyer Avenue and distant Northerly 120 feet therefrom would intersect said point; thence Easterly, parallel to said Northerly line of Boyer Ave., 117.58 feet to the point of beginning.

Parcel B:

A strip of land 23 inches wide off of, and extending along the entire Northerly side of the following described tract:

Beginning at a point on the Northerly line of Boyer Avenue in the City of Walla Walla 100 feet West of the intersection of said line with the Westerly line of Clinton Street; said point being the Southwest corner of the O.T. Cornwell premises; thence Northerly along the west line of said Cornwell premises, 120 feet thence Westerly parallel with Boyer Avenue, 112 feet; thence Southerly 120 feet to a point on the Northerly line of Boyer Avenue 100 feet West of the point of beginning; thence Easterly, along the Northerly line of Boyer Avenue, 100 feet to the point of beginning.

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.  The bronze statue on the corner of Third and Rose of Great Chief PeoPeoMoxMox of the Walla Walla Tribe commemorates that treaty signing.  The treaty was 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 mile square oriented N-S, E-W, with its eastern side centered on the point where Main Street crossed Mill Creek (roughly at the point where it does now).  To this original area, additional parcels were annexed from time to time. The area including 50 Brookside Drive was part of a fairly rapid development of this part of Walla Walla in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The first recorded transaction involving 50 Brookside Drive occurred on May 23, 1863 when John Haley sold “all that portion of the SW ¼ of Section 21 in Township #7, County of Walla Walla, Washington Territory” to William H. Patten and Elizabeth Patten.  This was the 80 acre parcel which Henry P. Isaacs and Lucie Isaacs bought from the Pattens on January 20, 1864 for $2000. Isaacs began real estate development of a good-sized section of the central area of Walla Walla which is south of Boyer and bordered by Division Street on the east and Whitman College on the west. In addition Isaacs was instrumental in developing the city water system, growing wheat in this area and establishing flour mills throughout the Northwest and Asian countries.

The Isaacs built the Queen Anne style home located at 100 Brookside Drive next door to 50 Brookside Drive. According to Penny Andres in volume one of Walla Walla: Her Historic Homes, Henry and Lucie Isaacs first “built an adobe brick house in 1865. Twenty years later they were able to build their Queen Anne mansion incorporating the adobe walls of the first house.”

Henry Isaacs died in 1900 without a will.  Lucie Isaacs, his widow, became the executor of his estate.  Evidently in an effort to make the settling of the estate less complicated, the Isaacs children filed a Quit Claim deed in favor of their mother on November 11, 1901. On December 2, 1910, Lucie Isaacs, widow, conveyed to Grace B. Isaacs, her daughter who is listed as a “spinster,” the property then referred to as Brookside Drive Addition for $1. At this time, the only house on Brookside Drive was the Isaacs home located at 100 Brookside Drive. Although there were several children in the Isaacs family, the development of Brookside Drive seems to have been done by Lucie Isaacs and her daughter Grace whose home was 572 University, on the corner of University and Clinton.  Lucie Isaacs conveyed a deed to Grace Isaacs on October 16, 1916 for property which includes the current Parcel A’s description listed above in the Legal Description. Brookside Drive Addition to the City of Walla Walla was never recorded, and is described in deeds referring to it as, “according to a plat thereof drawn from survey and used for sale purposes, said lot being otherwise described by metes and bounds as follows…”

On January 19, 1918 W.J. McMillan and his wife Lelia A. McMillan purchased this property, described both by metes and bounds and as Lot #7 of Brookside Park Addition, from Grace Isaacs for $1500. In the 1918 City Directory, the McMillans are listed as residing at 11 S. Clinton, which is adjacent to the back lawn of 50 Brookside Dr.  In the 1918 City Directory, W.J. McMillan is listed as a dentist with an office in the Die Brucke building at First and Main. . On February 5, 1918, the McMillans deeded the land to his mother Nannie McMillan.  On April 13, 1918, Nannie McMillan deeded the land plus another parcel to the McMillan Company for $100. On September 22, 1926 the McMillan Company sold the property for $1200 to Charles B. and Clara Weatherman.  On October 7, 1927, building permit #4985 was issued to C.B. Weatherman and his contractor C.G. McNichols for a new house on Brookside Drive valued at $7000.  In the 1926-27 city directory the Weathermans were listed as residing at 22 N. Blue, which they owned. There is no directory available for 1928, and they are not listed at any location in the 1929-30 directory.  However, real property records show that the Weathermans sold their home at 22 N. Blue on March 23, 1928.  In the 1931-32 directory, they are listed as residing at 50 Brookside Drive. In addition to the building permit, according to the current owners, the date 1928 was painted on the living room wall of the home, apparently indicating the completion of the home and its first occupancy in that year.

Clara Weatherman died in 1948. Charles Weatherman, a rancher, resided here until 1973. Robin M. and Sharon R. Smith rented the house from 1974-77. On November 5, 1974 Charles Weatherman, now a widower, filed a Quit Claim Deed for the property to Peggy G. Varga and Betty W. Person, probably his daughters. Each received an “undivided one-half interest.” No City Directories indicated either of them ever resided at 50 Brookside Drive. Charles Weatherman died in 1977. On April 5, 1977 Peggy and Elmer Varga and Betty and Robert Person sold the house to Daniel Seese and Karen Hanson Seese for $42,000.  Daniel Seese was a Walla Walla Fireman.  Karen Hanson Seese was a Walla Walla Community College health educator.  In May of 1985 the Seeses filed a Dissolution of Marriage.  Karen Hanson Seese, now Karen Hanson, sold the house for $58,000 on August 31, 1988 to Craig Gunsul, a physics professor at Whitman College and Deborah Holmes, a theatre professor at Whitman.

Parcel B in the Legal Description refers to a 23 inch strip of land between the house on the corner of Clinton and Boyer, 571 Boyer, and 50 Brookside Drive. According to Penny Andres’ book Walla Walla: Her Historic Homes, 571 Boyer was built by Oliver T. and Ella Cornwell.  The legal description  pertains to the backyard borders between 571 Boyer and 50 Brookside Drive which are now fenced on all four sides.

Construction of the House:

The Walla Walla county assessor’s office lists a construction date for this home as 1927.  That is consistent with the issuance of a building permit on October 7, 1927.  The current residents Craig Gunsul and Deborah Holmes found the date“1928” painted on a wall in the living room, though they have since painted over it. That date is probably when construction was completed, and is consistent with the sale of the Weathermans’ existing home on March 23, 1928, and their later listing in the 1931-32 city directory at this address.  It is unclear why the Weathermans did not appear in the existing 1929-30 directory, though these were depression years, with many disruptions.

Craig Gunsul and Deborah Holmes have updated this attractive home with a new kitchen, hardwood floors, soft paint colors.  50 Brookside Drive is an example of a Tudor style house with its brick wall “cladding” on the exterior walls.  The steeply pitched roof and tall narrow windows on the first floor are typical features of this style.

A construction date of 1928 should be used for this home.

Resources used for this report:

Penrose Library Northwest Archives files, Whitman College

Pioneer Title Company documents for 50 Brookside Drive

Walla Walla Public Library Northwest History Room

Walla Walla County Assessor’s records

Walla Walla County’s Vault

Virginia and Lee McAlester’s Field Guide to American Houses, 1997

A visit to the house


Katherine H. Weingart
Daniel N. Clark
Walla Walla 2020
P.O. Box 1222, Walla Walla WA 99362
August 4, 2009