Parcel 360720590323, at 625 Hobson on College Tax 2 Lot 8 Block 3, as recorded in the office of the Walla Walla County Assessor.
Washington Territory was created in 1853. The new legislature created Walla Walla County in 1854 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 an Indian council was held on the banks of Mill Creek at the present site of Walla Walla to purchase land from the Indians. The Yakimas, 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. All of the land in this area 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 County Surveyor H. H. Case in 1859, 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 Townsite from the U. S. Government which consisted of 80 acres issued on July 20, 1869 by the Vancouver, W.T. District Land Office. Main Street originally followed the old Nez Perce Indian Trail. Consequently the streets leading off of it were at right angles to it, and were not in a north-south orientation. This was corrected as the city moved eastward which gave Walla Walla its peculiar street pattern with the three street intersection at Palouse, Boyer and Main Streets. To the original plat, 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.
The first patent holders of this southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 20 , Township 7N, Range 36E were Mary and William Johnson and John McComb. They acquired this land from the U. S. government under the Script Warrant Act of 1855. The place of registration was in the Vancouver Land Office where additional conveyances were also recorded before there was a land office in Walla Walla. The first local entry in the legal title to this property was on January 7, 1862 when a Quit Claim Deed was signed by William H. and Elizabeth Ann Patton which transferred this property (and 7 other parcels totaling 40 acres) to Dorsey Syng Baker for $600. This original deed is in the Baker Collection in the Whitman Archives.
The Pattons also transferred a water right in this property and more than 25 parcels to H. P. Isaacs on January 20, 1864 for $2000. On April 6, 1866 Patton signed a similar deed for 80 acres for $2000. Henry P. Isaacs came to Walla Walla in1862 and built the North Pacific Flour Mill in what is now Wildwood Park on Boyer and Division streets, one of many flour mills he owned across the northwest. He also planted an early orchard and vineyard. Henry was very active in local development and built his residence on Brookside Drive in 1865, across Mill Creek from this property. On September 21, 1881, he and his wife Lucy leased their extensive water rights to their son J. C. Isaacs for $10,000. On September 11, 1886 the Isaacs formed the Walla Walla Water Company. Isaacs built a water works with hollow logs for pipes that he later sold to the City of Walla Walla for a public utility.
Dorsey Syng Baker had moved to Walla Walla in 1861 and built a home on the north side of Boyer Avenue on College Creek. He donated four acres of his forty acre parcel on the south side of Boyer Avenue to Whitman Seminary. In 1862, Baker was on the city council and some years later was a Walla Walla County Commissioner. He was the founder of Walla Walla’s Baker Boyer Bank and builder of the first railroad in the valley. Dr. Baker died in 1888 but his will stipulated that his property could not pass to his heirs before 1900, so his estate was operated for 12 years by his extended family. On November 11, 1899, the executors of Dorsey Baker’s estate, Miles C. Moore, Henry C. Baker, and Walla Walla Willie Baker, sold the water rights to the Glasford Ditch, subject to a lease to the Scholl Brothers, and then transferred the ownership of the Baker land, excepting the water rights, to the Baker Land and Investment Company. They had College Addition platted on December 18, 1899.
The first sale limited to this property alone occurred on October 23, 1902 when the Baker Land and Investment Company sold this lot to O. J. Croup for $600, excepting a water right. Oren J. Croup was a dentist practicing in Walla Walla with his brother. He and his wife May lived at 626 Whitman in 1911 and at 128 Merriam in 1914. On March 21, 1914 O. J. and May C. Croup sold this lot to Bert M. Huntington. He was a very busy builder at this time with an office in the Baker Boyer Bank lobby. He took out 3 building permits on March 17, 1914, including one for this property. In the 1914 city directory he and his wife Edith lived at 418 Bellevue. From 1915 to 1919 the directory shows them living at 625 Hobson. On November 21, 1919 they sold this house to John W. Baird for a stated amount of $10. On April 17, 1925 John W. and Rosa A. Baird sold this house to Albert B. and Margaret E. Wadley. At this time it was necessary to clear this complicated title with an affidavit from W. G. Coleman, local lawyer, testifying that the rights, easements and ditches of H. P. Isaacs water company had been abandoned. The Baker Land and Investment Company also signed a Quit Claim Deed at this time. On May 12, 1928 the Wadleys sold this property to Paul Harris, a single man. On April 16, 1931 Paul and Nellie L. Harris sold this house to James A. Holliet. On April 25, 1931 the house was sold on the steps of the court house and Earl L. McInroe, Walla Walla County Sheriff, gave a Sheriff’s Deed on this property to Prudential Insurance for $2851.94. On March 28. 1957, 26 years later following Holliet’s efforts to repay, Seattle First National Bank gave a release of mortgage to Holliet. On August 27, 1986 the grandson of James and Rebecca Holliet and son of Irene H. King testified to clear title over the prior 56 years that his family lived here. He stated that James Holliet died without a will on August 11, 1974. Rebecca Holliet died June 20, 1964. Irene H. King, sister and heir, died without a will on July 24, 1986. On April 11, 1988 Nathan Andrew King Sr., a single man, signed a Quit Claim Deed to Kathryn Irene King Hood. On January 8, 1990, James A. and Kathryn Irene King Hood sold this house to David F. Schmitz, a single man. On April 27, 1993, Schmitz sold this house to Susanne M. Blanc, a single woman. On October 13, 1993 Suzanne Blanc sold this house to Jan and Heidi Mejer. On March 25, 1999, Heidi Jade Mejer, personal representative for the Estate of Jan Hubert Mejer, signed a special warranty deed giving full title to herself. On July 10, 2002, Heidi Mejer sold this property to William B. L. and Cristin J. Murdoch. The Murdochs did extensive remodeling in 2002 and 2003. On April 11, 2008, the Murdochs sold to Holly and Eric Blair for $390,000. On June 11, 2010 the Blairs sold this home to Andrew and Shannon Block for $420,000.
The first occupants of this house were the well-known builder Bert M. Huntington and his wife Edith with their children Helen, Jack and Emily.
Construction of the Building:
The Walla Walla County Assessor’s office lists a construction date of 1918. An actual building permit exits for this house on March 17, 1914 and it is likely that it was completed during the 1914 construction season. This construction date is further confirmed by Bert and Edith Huntington being listed in the city directory as living here in 1915.
Andres, Penny, Walla Walla Her Historic Homes, Vol. I, 1991.
Bennett, Robert A., Walla Walla Portrait of a Western Town 1804-1899, Pioneer Press, Walla Walla, 1980.
Bennett, Robert A., Walla Walla A Town Built to be a City 1900-1919, Pioneer Press, Walla Walla, 1982.
Building Permits: Whitman College Penrose Library Archives.
Lyman, Professor W.D., An Illustrated History of Walla Walla County 1901.
Lyman, Professor W.D., Lyman’s History of Old Walla Walla County, Vol. 1-2, 1918
Sanborn Fire Maps: 1884-1905 (with updates until 1950).
Walla Walla City Directories: 1880-present (various publishers–not all years).
Whitman College Archives.Mary E. Meeker ; Walla Walla 2020 Research Service PO Box 1222, Walla Walla WA 99362 January 16, 2011