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.