History of 838 Whitman Street, Walla Walla, WA


Legal Description (abbreviated):

Easterly 50 feet of Lot 1 in Jaycox Addition to the City of Walla Walla.

Title and Occupant History:

August 14, 1878–John and Viretta Bryant, husband and wife, sold the following property to Jane M. Wilson for $500: commence at the Northeast corner of the N.W. quarter of the N.W. quarter of Section 28, Township 7 N. of Range 36 East of the Willamette Meridian, run South 20 rods (330′), then West 40 rods, then North 20 rods, then East 40 rods to the point of beginning. (Deed Book a, Page 190, hereinafter 0/190)

December 4, 1878–0scar F. and Jane M. Wilson, husband and wife, sold the above property to A. Reeves Ayres, price not listed. (0/533)

A. Reeves Ayres is listed in Miller’s 1883-84 Eastern Washington Directory as clerk of the 1st District Court.

September 8, 1879–A. Reeves and Elvada G. Ayres, husband and wife, sold the above property to Nelson Snodgrass for $800. (R/542)

Nelson Snodgrass is listed in Miller’s 1883-84 directory as a carpenter.

June 3, 1885–Nelson and Elizabeth A. Snodgrass, husband and wife, sold the above property to Mary A. Koontz for $3000. (38/489)

September 21, 1887–W. J. and Mary A. Koontz, husband and wife, sold the above property to Alvin Zaring. (38/492) R. L. Polk’s Walla Walla City & County Directory for 1893-94 lists Alvin Zaring as a farmer residing at Whitman St. the southeast corner of Division St. in the Spectator’s 1892 Walla Walla City Directory, he is listed as residing at the east end of Whitman.

Construction of the First House on the Property: Robert A. Bennett’s Walla Walla: Portrait of a Western Town. 1804-1889 contains panoramic views of Walla Walla that show no house on the property in 1884, pp. 127-8, but show several structures on the northeast part of the property in 1889, pp. 145-6. Although Alvin Zaring is first listed in 1892, the 1885 selling price of $3000 compared to the 1879 price of $800 suggests that Nelson Snodgrass, the carpenter, may have constructed one or more of the structures shown in 1889. These structures were probably not on the 50 feet of lot one fronting on Whitman St., but were more likely on the property now designated as 834 Whitman.

April 8, 1895–a Sheriff’s sale of the A. Zaring tract (20 rods x 40 rods in the N.E corner of N.W. 1/4 of N.W. 1/4 of Section 28, Township 7 N., Range 36 EW.M.) resulted from the action of Harry Krutz, plaintiff, against A. Zaring et. al. O. P. Jaycox purchased the property for $3990.83. (74/518, see also 59/237)

Polk’s 1893-94 directory lists O. P. Jaycox as the owner of O. P. Jaycox & Co., dealer in crockery and glassware. He resided on the west side of Division, two lots south of Whitman. In 1898, Polk’s directory calls his business a department store, the “Chicago Store, II located between 2nd & 3rd on Main St. Polk’s 1918 directory lists O. P. Jaycox as a partner in the firm of Payne & Jaycox which sold clothing, shoes, and men’s furnishings and which was located in the Jaycox Building on the northwest corner of the intersection of W. Alder and S. 2nd.

May 26, 1897–0. P. and Elma Jaycox, husband and wife, sold lots I & 9 in the Jaycox Addition to Ida A. Knight for $2150. (81/597)

The 1898 directory lists E A Knight as a partner in Goodell & Knight, printers at 17 E. Main, with a residence at 834 Whitman, corner of Division. Polk’s 1904 directory lists Ernest A. Knight as the Superintendent of the Walla Walla Water Works with a residence at 834 Whitman. In the 1905-12 directories his address is listed as 838 Whitman.

September 21, 1927–lda A. Knight, a widow, and F. Allen Knight, a bachelor, sold the east 50′ of lot 1 to Minnie A. Derrick, whose husband is S. G. Derrick, for $1 “and other valuable consideration.” (Deed #169880)

The 1929-30 directory lists S. G. Derrick as a contractor residing at 838 Whitman; in the 1926-27 directory he is listed residing at 835 Whitman.

Construction of the Current House: Ernest A. Knight probably built the current house in 1904, since he is listed at 838 Whitman for the first time in the 1905 directory. A search of the books of Walla Walla Building Permits for 1907-13, 1913-17, 1918-26, and 1926-35 revealed only one entry for 838 Whitman. On December 5, 1927 [first name unreadable] Derrick obtained permit #5024 to have contractor C. Lambert remodel 838 Whitman at a cost of $1200. This must have been a considerable remodel since the average cost of a new home at the time was listed as $3000.

November 14, 1945–R. Raymond Derrick, a single man, sold the property in the legal description to Peter L. and Mary E. Taylor, husband and wife, for $10 “and other good and valuable considerations.” (#289405)

The 1946 directory lists Peter L. Taylor residing at 838 Whitman. The 1941 directory lists him as the owner of the West Pine Service Station, gas station and tourist camp, at 1161 W. Pine.

September 23, 1952–Peter L. and Mary E. Taylor sold the property to Earl C. and Gladys P. Jensen, husband and wife, for the lister consideration of $10. (#358307)

The 1953 directory lists Earl C. Jensen as a physician at the Veterans Administration Hospital with a home at 838 Whitman.

February 21, 1962–Earl C. and Gladys P. Jensen sold the property to Walter R. and Effie A. Singer, husband and wife, for $16,000. (#436967)

The 1963 directory lists Effie A. Singer as a widow; the 1962 directory lists Walter R. Singer as the general manager of Umatilla Canning in Milton-Freewater.

October 20, 1969–Effie A. Singer sold the property to Larry R. and Christine E. Anderson, husband and wife, for $16,000. (#504900)

prepared by Michael W. Smith, 7/95