History of 809 Valencia Street, Walla Walla, WA

Full Legal Description

Lot 8 in Block 7 of Green’s Park Addition to the City of Walla Walla, according to the official plat thereof recorded in Volume C of Plats at Page 28, in the Office of the Auditor, Walla Walla County, State of Washington.

Together with that portion of the vacated alley adjoining on the northwest as vacated under the provisions of Ordinance No. A-3690 of the City of Walla Walla, which attached thereto by operation of law.

Situated in the City and County of Walla Walla, State of Washington.

Title and Occupant History

Washington Territory was created in 1853.  In 1854, the new territorial legislature created Walla Walla County, 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, Isaac Stevens, governor of Washington Territory, held a council on the banks of Mill Creek at the present site of Walla Walla with representatives of regional Indian tribes to purchase land from them.  The Yakamas, Cayuses and Walla Wallas were dissatisfied with the treaties and the intrusion by whites into their lands before the treaties’ ratification, 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 the treaties were finally ratified and the land was opened for settlement.  The transfer of ownership occurred by virtue of a treaty signed on June 9, 1855 in Walla Walla and ratified on March 8, 1859 by President James Buchanan, in which all of the land in the Walla Walla area was acquired from the Cayuse and Walla Walla Indian tribes.

Walla Walla was originally laid out by County Surveyor H. H. Case in 1859, even 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 Town site from the U. S. Government that consisted of 80 acres issued on July 20, 1869 by the Vancouver, W. T. District Land Office.

Mary Frances Green platted Green’s Park Addition in July 1903; it was approved by the City Council July 21st, by the County Council July 22nd, and filed July 23rd. The addition was in what was then the northeast outskirts of town in a swampy area rented to garden farmers, among them members of the Chinese community. Mary Green had purchased the land with her late husband, William Orville Green from John Haley on October 7, 1867, which was part of Haley’s United States Government patent claim of July 15, 1865. The Greens were early settlers of Walla Walla, coming to the town in 1862 during the gold rush period.

William O. Green was an associate of Dr. Dorsey Singh Baker in the stock business and acquired considerable land in Walla Walla and Franklin Counties. Green died in 1878, leaving his widow to manage their land, businesses and property.

The land that would become Green’s Park Addition was deeded to the Green children who, on December 30, 1895, quitclaimed the property back to Mary F. Green for one dollar. In an effort to control the type of buildings that were erected, the Green family initially stipulated that a single family dwelling house had to be built on the land for a specific cost, usually at least $2,000, in part to discourage land speculators.

Mary F. Green transferred all of her property to the Green Investment Company in 1909, and remained president of the business until her death on November 9, 1911.

On July 15, 1865, part of a U.S. Patent consisting of 160 acres, including this property, was granted to John Haley, as recorded in the Vancouver, W.T. District Land Office.

10/8/1867, Deed, John Haley, grantor; William O. Green, grantee, “All those tracts of land…containing 19 55/100 acres more or less,” $1,500, including this property.

1/6/1896, Quit Claim Deed, Clarinda J. and Hugh Roland Smith, Anna B. and W. H. Barnett, Philinda Green, Mary O. Green, grantors; Mary F. Green, widow of William O. Green, grantee, 320 acres, $1.

12/23/1902, Affidavit, H. C. Baker to The Public, to establish Mary F. Green as the widow of W. O. Green, deceased in 1878, and that the above listed grantors in the Quit Claim Deed of 1/6/1896 are the living issue of Mary F. Green.

6/8/1908, Quit Claim Deed, Mary F. Green, a widow, grantor; The Green Investment Company, grantee, Lots 3, 7 and 8, Block 7, and many other parcels in Green’s Park Addition, $1.

5/26/1910, Indenture, The Green Investment Company, grantor; William W. Thorne, grantee, Lot 8, Block 7, $600. This is the first transaction dealing exclusively with Lot 8, Block 7, currently 809 Valencia Street. (This deed is not in the file at Pioneer Title and was located in the reverse index at the Auditor’s Office.) William Thorne was vice president and secretary of The Kellough Co., Inc., a men’s clothing and furnishings store.

12/28/1917, Indenture of Administrator’s Deed, Estate of Carolyn Thorne, deceased, grantor; E. E. Wright, grantee, $1,000. Although Carolyn Thorne was not listed in the index entry of 5/26/1910, it is probable that she was the wife, later the widow, of William W. Thorne. E. E. “Dick” Wright was a deputy clerk for the United States District Court, Eastern Division, and secretary of Walla Walla Savings & Loan Association.

8/31/1926, Quit Claim Deed, E. E. Wright, grantor; Josephine Wright, grantee, $10. (James Wright, likely their son, had the interesting job of organist at the Liberty Theatre.)

5/24/1946, Warranty Deed, Josephine Wright, a widow, grantor; O. C. and Jane G. Adams, grantees, $10. O. C. “Conway” Adams was co-owner with W. J. Long of The Feed Bin, 1018 West Rose, dealing in feed and flour.

1/24/1958, Warranty Deed, O. C. and Jane G. Adams, grantors; Albin G. and Elsie C. Spengler, grantees, $10. Albin Spengler worked at Birdseye, a frozen foods processing plant.

Undated (Page 2 containing the date is missing), Ordinance vacating the alley on the east side of the railroad track west of Valencia Street between Figueroa Street and Alvarado Terrace. (Tracks for the former Walla Walla & Columbia River Railroad still exist through this so-called alley.)

6/5/1992, Real Estate Contract, Elsie C. Spengler, as her separate estate, grantor; Theodore Steven and Sylvia Eileen Lewis, grantees, $60,000, followed by a fulfillment deed.

8/27/1998, Statutory Warranty Deed, Theodore Steven and Sylvia Eileen Lewis, grantors; Michael Anthony and Jane Rene Myers, grantees, $10 and other valuable considerations.

Construction of Building

The Walla Walla County Assessor lists a build date of 1906 for 809 Valencia Street. Assessor dates are most often approximations. The Sanborn Fire Map of 1905 in its original configuration shows no houses on the west side of Valencia in Block 7. The first updates to the 1905 map were made in July 1909, but because additional alterations were made to the 1905 edition through the year 1923 it is impossible to tell when 809 Valencia was first added to the map.

Building permits for Walla Walla are preserved only from September 1907. A thorough search of 1907 through 1910 revealed no permit issued for this address. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that the house was constructed as early as 1906.

In her 2013 Historic Survey Report of Green’s Park Addition, the late Sally Donovan wrote that Mary F. Green’s daughters and their husbands erected houses in this addition. She did not explain whether she meant they built houses exclusively for themselves, or whether they might have built some on speculation. On 7/9/1908, Permit 190 was issued to R. Smith, owner, to construct a two-story frame dwelling on Valencia near Bonsella, to cost $9,000 (a quite steep estimate for 1908), for which he paid a fee of two dollars. Hugh Roland Smith was married to Clarinda Green. He was secretary-treasurer of The Green Investment Company, that had acquired Lots 3, 7 and 8 of Block 7 from Mary F. Green on 6/8/1908, a mere month before “R. Smith” acquired the building permit to construct a house on Valencia. Hugh Roland Smith evidently disdained his given name, going by Roland exclusively; he is listed consistently in city directories as Roland Smith. The only other R. Smith in the City Directory for that year was a night operator and ticket clerk for the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company, presumably at a salary that would not have allowed him to construct such an expensive house.

William W. and Carolyn Thorne were the first occupants of the house at 809 Valencia as recorded in the 1909-1910 City Directory, copyrighted in 1909. Per the 1908 City Directory, the Thornes lived next door at 815 Valencia, a smaller house than 809 Valencia. No building permit was issued to William Thorne between 1907 and 1910. Whether the Thornes had an arrangement with Roland Smith to build a larger house for them at 809 Valencia, or whether Smith built the house on speculation, and the Thornes liked it, so moved next door, may be impossible to establish factually, but is worth conjecturing. Whatever the case, the house appears to date to late 1908, perhaps completed in 1909, certainly not 1906.

809 Valencia is a two and one-half story house that could probably best be described as simple Colonial Revival cum Queen Anne. Its layout is asymmetrical, which gives it interest. It has a hipped roof with a broad projecting gable at the left front. Ornament is largely lacking, save for jigsaw-cut fancy shingles on the small pediments above the entrance and on the projecting front gable at the attic level. It is interesting to observe that while the sidelights that surround the front door appear to be leaded glass, the only other visible leaded glass appears to be in this attic gable window! A non-projecting bay may be observed on the left (south) side of the house. Simple round porch columns, ubiquitous to Walla Walla homes of this period, support the full-width front porch. Examples of this style of house can still be seen throughout Walla Walla.


  • Whitman Archives
  • City Directories, various years
  • Sanborn Fire Maps, 1905 original and with additions
  • Walla Walla County Auditor
  • Historic Survey Report: Green’s Park Addition Reconnaissance Level Historic Survey, Donovan & Associates, Hood River, OR, September 2013
  • Susan Monahan, Kirkman House Museum