Story of Wallula in 1889
Penned by Mrs. J. C. Moll
"The very fact that Wallula
is soon to be flooded clear off the map is causing a lot of people to take
more interest in the old town than they have for many years. Many
of the old timers are deploring this fact, as memories of the past and
what the town has been are brought to mind.
As an old timer there, however, I would like to tell something of what the town was like when I first knew it approximately sixty years ago.
My parents moved to Wallula in 1889, when I was a small child, coming from the town of Ritzville, Wash. With a population of possibly 800 people, Wallula had never been incorporated, but was a very lively railroad center and was divided into three parts. One part was called Hunts junction, where the Northern Pacific railroad shops were located and was about one mile from the main part of town wherein were the stores.
I can remember two combined grocery and department stores, one owned and operated by "JOE DIAMOND" and the other by "MERCHANT & MASSAM". The stores both located very near to where the Wallula Cash store now stands, that being the main street and it was compactly filled with business houses from the end where the old Wallula hotel stood down to what is now GILKERSON'S Used Car shop.
The Wallula hotel which was burned down about two years ago was then operated by Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM ELLINGSWORTH and was called the ELLINGSWORTH hotel. In the building was also a bakery with coal heated iron ovens, reaching from the floor to the ceiling and a loaf of the finest bread could then be purchased for five cents. The post office was in charge of Amos Cummings, father of J. J. CUMMINGS, Walla Walla, and he had been postmaster more years than a child of my age could count.
Saloons flourished in that day and there was one owned by JAKE LEWIS, one by JOHN DOAK, one by CHARLEY LLOYD, one by DOC BARNES and one in the railroad hotel.
DOCTOR BARNES was the town's only physician and was somewhat handicapped in his practice by the fact that his toes had been frozen and amputated, causing him to wear funny little square-toed shoes.
There were several Chinese laundries in operation. A millinery shop owned by Mrs. ALICE JOHNSON, mother of EDITH REES, two hardware stores, one owned and operated by HENRY A. DAVIS and the other by GEORGE CUMMINGS, father of Mrs. MARY DOUGLAS. A blacksmith shop was owned by SAM DOAK, father of FRANK DOAK of Walla Walla.
The one and only drug store was owned by W.L. FREEMAN a very genial and rotund personage who could apply a poultice, administer a dose of his own patent medicine or pull a tooth as the occasion demanded.
There were several restaurants and my parents for some time operated one which was called "The Delmonico." A wall motto which hung in the dining room and read: "In God We Trust, All Others Cash," was always a mystery to me but was fully understood by the customers.
One interesting incident I can well remember was the GOODHUE sisters and their brother CLAUDE GOODHUE, who walked on stilts every place they went and they always "stilted" to our restaurant for their meals, having to ascend about four steps to enter and which they were well capable of doing. Their father, Mr. GOODHUE, was agent at the railroad depot, a mammoth rooming and boarding house which was burned down about 1910 or 1912. What few sidewalks the town boasted were wooden affairs built up about four or five feet off the ground.
De Long Shoe Shop
A shoe making shop was owned by W.F. De LONG who was a first class shoemaker and who would make shoes for this daughter, ORPHA, that were the envy of her girl friends. A butcher shop was operated by MARTIN LUTHER JOHNSON and his brother, BILLY JOHNSON. A photograph gallery was run by EVERETT G. CUMMINGS who would take and finish a dozen photographs for the mere sum of $1.50.
A newspaper called the "Wallula Herald" was edited by DAN and JOHN CUMMINS, sons of a Dr. CCUMMINS who lived in Touchet. The subscription price was $1 a year.
There was one school, a large building with four classrooms, which was built and used for the first time the year we came there. Three teachers were hired, WALTER LINGENFELTER as principal, Miss MAY STEELE, intermediate teacher, and Miss MINNIE TEMPLE, primary.
The only church was in charge of ELDER J.C. STEELE of the Baptist faith. He was the father of Miss MAY STEELE, teacher.
Wallula also boasted a fire department complete with hose, a hose cart with very large wheels and drawn by the 25 firemen who were very resplendent in their red shirts and white helmets. A huge fire bell perched on top of the car and a large Newfoundland dog were part of the equipment. ( Mrs. MOLL also has a photograph of the Wallula fire department of 1889, which unfortunately, was too damaged to be reproduced here. The picture is complete with the 20 firemen, the two-wheeled hose cart, and the great Newfoundland dog mascot. The firemen who could be identified in the picture were: JERRY BLYTH, DR. FREEMAN, GEORGE McEVOY, CHARLES GIRTON, Mr. BOWLES, JUDD IRISH, HENRY DAVIS, FRED LAST, W.F. De LONG, JOHN BENCH, M.L.OHNSON, GEORGE LEWIS, Mr. GOODHUE, JOE DIAMOND, WILLIAM MARTIN, CHARLES CUMMINGS, and AL LOWMAN).
On the hot summer days the unpaved, dusty streets would be sprinkled, bringing relief from the heat for awhile.
The third and central part of Wallula was called Dublin. Why? No one ever knew. This was mostly the residential part although a butcher shop owned by CRADDOCK & PLATZODER and a brewery which really brewed were located there.
Much more could be written about the town in later years, but these facts are as they were when I first knew it."
Taken from the Walla
Walla Union Bulletin.( Date of print unknown.)
USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing
free information on the Internet, data may be used by
non-commercial entities, as long as this message
remains on all copied material. These electronic
pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit
or for presentation by other persons or organizations.
Persons or organizations desiring to use this material
for purposes other than stated above must obtain the
written consent of the file contributor.
This file was excerpted and contributed for use in the USGenWeb
Archives by: Rella Gleaton, January 20, 2003