Many of you who have lived in the area for a number of years might have picked up pizza or had your hair done at the very location you now visit the dentist. Our building, located just inside the historic downtown Walla Walla boundary, actually has a rich history behind it that dates all the way back to the 1840’s! We wanted to share the building’s interesting history and how Inland Family Dentistry came to be more than 15 years ago.

Starting from the beginning, Walla Walla County first came into existence all the way back in 1854 when new legislation was passed after the creation of the Washington Territory. From there, it would take almost ten years before Walla Walla became an official city, spanning the impressive distance of one-quarter mile in the shape of a square! Fast forward a bit more and we get to the part where our building became known as the “Alheit Building” after John and Rose Alheit purchased it along with a neighboring property in 1875 for $1,000.

By trade, John Alheit was a baker and grocer with his own store while also having four children to keep him busy. Two of his sons, George and Charles, would follow in his footsteps and become bakers, working at various prestigious restaurants throughout Walla Walla, while his third son, John Jr., would take a more entrepreneurial path as a proprietor of multiple businesses from restaurants to insurance agencies. As it turns out, the Alheit’s would own these properties for the next 111 years as it was passed down from one generation to the next.

Arriving in 1973, Leila Alheit Garfield, John’s only daughter and last remaining family member that was listed with ownership to the property, passed away without having her son named to inherit the buildings. With no other Alheit to lay claim to the buildings, her ex-husband, Harry Garfield, would take ownership and sell them in 1986 for the sum of $115,000 – working out to a little over $1,000 in appreciation each year after the initial purchase back in 1875.

Over the years, a number of businesses occupied the two Alheit buildings including a sheet metal workshop, roofing company, two barber shops, a gun store, furniture store, mental health clinic, karate center, costume shop, and even the Salvation Army. At Inland Family Dentistry, we were surprised to learn that the Alheit family lived only two doors down from our office (at 215 S 2nd Street), which also served as their real estate company until 1946 when they closed the doors for good and multiple businesses occupied it until 1994 when it remained unlisted.

As for the history of our office and before we came to make it the home of Inland Family Dentistry, it was occupied by two insurance agencies, a laundromat, plantation shop, bakery, and even Domino’s Pizza for a time. After the building exchanged owners a few more times, in 2003, Gary and Linda Wasemiller sold it to Nannette Goyer (yes, the same Dr. Goyer that we all know and love!). The rest, as they say, is history.

Whether visiting Walla Walla on vacation or you’re a local resident, there are countless activities to indulge in year-round. This quaint but beautiful town serves as a great escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life, offering beautiful scenery and a rich culture that’s just waiting to be explored. From evening and weekend events to full day adventures, below, we’ve covered some of the best activities Walla Walla has to offer.

1. Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival
If you happen to find yourself with nothing to do in Walla Walla Valley during the month of June, look no further than the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival. This month-long celebration packs together more than 30 diverse events including things like a concert series, wine tasting, portraits of artists, and plenty more for the whole family to enjoy. There is no better way to indulge in Walla Walla culture and experience beautiful music all in one between a number of free events for the entire community and paid events for a more intimate setting with some of the amazing artists that participate.

2. Check Out Palouse Falls
When you have an itch to experience the majesty of nature and make a day of it, few places will take your breath away like Palouse Falls. Located just over an hour outside of Walla Walla, Palouse Falls offers stunning scenery as far as the eye can see, often being revered as one of the nation’s most beautiful waterfalls. Whether planning a tasty picnic atop the falls, a hike down to the base for a swim in the river, or even some rock climbing along the face of cliffs, there’s something for everyone to do here.

3. Blue Mountain Land Trust Events
The Blue Mountain Land Trust works to conserve and protect scenic, natural, and working lands that characterize the Blue Mountain region to ensure many future generations will still be able to enjoy nature as it is today. Outside of conservation efforts, they also host a wide range of events throughout the year that the whole family can participate in. Including things such as guided nature walks, visiting scenic landmarks, vineyard tours, and even educational outings, this is a great way to get involved with the community and experience nature.

4. Walla Walla Food Truck Night
Taking place on the first Monday of each month from April to October, the Walla Walla Food Truck night is a great way to cure the back to work blues. From 5-9, you can taste and experience diverse food from 15 different local trucks, ensuring that there’s something for everyone’s taste. If you’ve been wanting to partake in the growing food truck movement, this event is a must see and great way to support local business. From savory craft foods to decadent desserts, we guarantee you’ll leave with a happy, full stomach.

5. Hiking in Walla Walla
When you just need to get out of the house and stretch your legs a bit, consider exploring one of the many hiking trails that Walla Walla has to offer. Between the breathtaking scenery and miles of trails to choose from, you’ll quickly find yourself leaving all worries behind and getting lost in beautiful landscapes. Whether looking for a short, easy trail that’s close to home or a day long adventure, Walla Walla has a hiking trail for everyone. To enjoy this activity, you need nothing more than a good pair of shoes and the spirit of an adventurer.

6. Catch a Movie at the Drive-In
The Milton-Freewater Drive-In theatre is a date night hotspot where you can indulge in a good movie the old fashion way – from your car! Combining a retro theme with modern movies that change every weekend, this is a great way to switch things up when you’re tired of going to the same old movie theater. Whether snuggling up with your date or taking the family out for a fun experience, this activity is sure to create some great memories.

7. Bird Watching
When you want to do something more relaxed that involves enjoying nature and wildlife, consider the age old activity of bird watching. As it turns out, Walla Walla is home to over 300 different species of birds that can be seen throughout the various habitats. Some of the best places to find some avian friends are at local parks such as Hood Park, Fish Hook Park, Rooks Park, and any of the nature preserves. Be sure to bring your camera and notebook so you can document all of the birds you see!

8. Learn About the History of Walla Walla
Walla Walla is rich with historical sites and museums that can easily take up an entire weekend depending on where you go. The Whitman Mission National Historic Site, which was one of the most important stops along the Oregon trail, is one of Walla Walla’s most popular attractions where you can explore the remains of the community and even see a portion of the Oregon Trail. Fort Walla Walla Museum is another must see destination, taking you through the diverse history of the fort with some truly amazing exhibits.

9. Bike Your Way to a Good Time
Walla Walla is one of Washington’s top cycling destinations thanks to the beautiful scenery, rural farm roads, and miles of trails that take you anywhere you want to go. You can also bike through downtown Walla Walla and make an adventure out of it as you check out local shops and craft eateries. On the other hand, if you’re up for more of a challenge, you can try biking through the Blue Mountains for some steep trails and sharp turns.

10. Support Local Farmers
Walla Walla began as a farming community, and that culture is still alive and well. There are lots of ways for visitors and locals alike to enjoy the fruits of this labor – sometimes quite literally. Walla Walla Sweet onions (the official vegetable of Washington) is in season. There are also a plethora of local fruits and vegetables that can make your summer cooking more fun. Visit the local farmer’s markets. The Downtown Farmers Market is open Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM, or stop by one of the road side stands to support local farmers and vendors. Not interested in food? Visit the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm which sits on 2 acres and features 25+ varieties of lavender.