East Benton County Historical Society

Kennewick, WA historic buildings

Although it may not appear so on the surface, the downtown Kennewick area has many buildings built before Word War II. In the 1950, 60s, and 70s, many historic buildings got a "modern" atomic-age facelift spurred by the huge influx of people to the area due to the Hanford Project. However, beyond the false facades, the history is there.

Unfortunately, as with many old buildings, some fine architectural landmarks have burned down--the most notable being the lavish Columbia Hotel built in 1892.

Hopefully as time goes on, property owners will see the historic value in many downtown-area buildings and restore them to their original condition. Part of this will come about by Tri-City area residents realizing the historic value in Kennewick.

Key: Building is still standing. Building has been torn down.


Sadie Conway's Post Office and Store (c1887)  

This was probably Kennewick's original post office.


Columbia Hotel (1892) Shingle (Queen Anne Victorian sub-form) |
Columbia Dr. and Benton

This hotel was built by the Yakima Irrigation and Land Company during the boom times before the panic of 1893. Later, this was home to the Christian Academy. Some sources say it burned in 1902, others say it burned in 1916.


Antlers Hotel (c1900) Corner of Benton and Canal (201 Canal Dr.)

The "nicest hotel in the area" according to a turn of the century advertisement.


Kennewick Courier Building (c1900) 100 block of Kennewick Avenue (originally called Second Street)

This building was home to the Kennewick Courier newspaper.


Hotel Kennewick (original) (c1900)  

This was the original "Hotel Kennewick".


Kennewick Market Building (c1900) North side of Kennewick Avenue in the 100 block

Pictured in front of the building are Wm. Dircksen, Mrs. Dircksen, Frank Shaughnessy, and Frank Schlagel. The upper floor was a theatre and dance hall. Photo taken on July 4th 1906.1

1Information taken from original photograph.


E. Sheppard / Columbia Pharmacy Building (1904)1 16 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building c. 1905 

Summer 1999

This is the oldest extant building on Kennewick Ave. As with most older buildings on Kennewick Ave., the exterior of this building received a major facelift. Although the front of the building looks like it is made of stone or cement block, it was actually made of tin. Unfortunately, when the current facade was put on, the tin was removed.

The upstairs of this building has been unused for over 40 years. It offers an excellent opportunity for restoration. Currently, the owner is interested in possibly restoring the facade.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Beach Block/Building (1906)1 S.E. corner of S. Washington & E. Kennewick Ave.

This photo was taken about 1960. It accurately shows most of the original detailing of the building. The lower store front as pictured, however, is not original.

1Date of construction was displayed on the front of the building.


Reed Block/Building (1906) 2 N. Washington St.

Building in 1949

Summer 1999

Inside of the First International Bank of Kennewick c. 1915

H. M. Ashbaugh and Co., a dry goods reseller, moved into this building Dec. 1st 1906.1 His business remained at this location until 1909, when he moved to the C.E. Williams building. Today, it houses the Satellite Restaurant.

In 1908, F. M. Crosby, M.D. had his practice here, treating "diseases of women and children."2

This building has been substantially altered. When built, it would have been unpainted. The lower floors, inside and out, have little left of the original architectural details of the structure.

The First International Bank of Kennewick was in the lower North corner of this building. Later this part of the building was the home of American Security Bank and Western Auto.3

1Kennewick Courier, Nov 2, 1906.
2Kennewick Reporter, Feb 14, 1908.
3Information from photographs in the EBCHS archive.


Hotel Kennewick (1906) SE corner of Cascade and Kennewick Ave.

Hotel c. 1920

The hotel under construction

Dining room

Burned in 1948. Hotel Kennewick was run by Mrs. Caroline Klitten, known for her dour persona. The Bateman Building now occupies this spot.


The Stag Building (1906)1 27 N. Auburn
Summer 1999
Run by N.R. Sylvester and Harry Roseman, this brick building was built to replace the original wood building at the same location. This was a popular place when the railroad was in its heyday.

This building is one of the best preserved examples in downtown Kennewick of a pre-1940s structure. Other than some minor changes in the bottom first story, this is how the building looked when it was built.

1Date of construction is displayed on the front of the building.


The Hover Building/Block (1906) 205-223 W. Kennewick Ave.

Block in c. 1910

Block as it appears today (from opposite street corner) - Summer 1999

207 Kennewick Ave.

Princess Theatre
217 Kennewick Ave.

223 Kennewick Ave.

Post office
219 Kennewick Ave.

Picture of the inside of the post office taken in 1920. Shown are: George H. Shanafelt, Post Master; Floyd Hutchins, clerk; C.E. Hillier, clerk; Herbert E. Misher, letter carrier; Ray Boldt, letter carrier; Herbert P. Cranmer, rural carrier.

This building was named after the pioneer land developer, H.A. Hover. It has housed many smaller businesses.1

For most of its life, 207 Kennewick Ave., has housed a pool hall or tavern.1

A drug store with the finest soda fountain in the area existed on the corner (223 Kennewick Ave.) until 1988. The first drug store was Tulles, then Vibber-Gifford (managed by ex-steamboat pilot Harry Vibber and Kit Gifford, Sr.). Later on, the drugstore was abbreviated to Vibber's and finally it became Lyle's.1

Kennewick's first theatre, the Princess Theatre was at 217 Kennewick Ave., which later housed the Kennewick Courier-Reporter, Kennewick's weekly newspaper until 1947.1

219 Kennewick Ave., housed the Kennewick Post Office until 1949.1

The entire Hover Building has had modern facades transplanted onto it. However, if you look at the roofline, you can see traces of its past architectural detailing.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Washington St. Grade School (1907) Washington St. & 6th Avenue (current site of
the Keewaydin Plaza high-rise)


McPhee's Drug Store (c1907)1 224 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building in 1923 

Summer 1999

Originally a drug store, in the 1920's it was the City Hall and Library, and in the 1930's, it was AA Anderson's Chevrolet Garage. Building has been heavily modified from the original.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


King Building/Block (c1907) 300 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building in c. 1910

Summer 1999

Inside the King Grocery c. 1910

The first King building c. 1905. The 6 people are: W.G. King, Gavin Hamilton, ____ Barton, C.E. King, and E.L. Ely.

This block housed the W.G. King and Son Department store. This building was King's second. The first was known as "WG King and Son General Merchandizing"1 and is pictured at the left. Both buildings appear to have occupied the same location. Later, this building housed Mueller's Undertaking, and the Kennewick Reporter newspaper.2

According to the Kennwick Reporter, Feb 14, 1908, F.A. Swingle, architect, had his office in this Building.

The original building was architecturally stunning with its romanesque windows and elaborate decorations. All of this has been removed from the current building. Inside, a 1950's remodel dropped the ceiling. Later on, carpeting was added. The basement of this building has a very old gigantic boiler in it.

1Information from EBCHS photographs.
2Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


First National Bank (1908)1 Southeast corner of Auburn St. and W. Kennewick Ave.

This building was probably torn down in the 50s or 60s.

1According to the Kennewick Reporter in 1908.


Kennewick Hardware & Furniture Building (1908)1 N.E. corner of Auburn and W. Kennewick Ave.
  In 1908, next to the Columbia Pharmacy, three brothers, Henry, Phil, and Alex, opened the Kennewick Hardware and Furniture store, also known as the Bier Brothers Hardware on Kennewick Ave.1

1Information taken from original photograph.


The C. E. Williams Building (1909)1 127 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building in c. 1940 (as JC Penny's)

Building in 1923 (as Sherk's)

August 1999

June 2000

Originally built to house Ashbaugh's dry goods store, this was the site of the first Kennewick J. C. Penny's store in 1926. The building opened with quite a lot of fanfare in 1909 with advertisements proclaiming its upscale elegance.

Kennewick Valley Telephone also used the building from 1915 to 1941.

As with most buildings built in this area, the original exterior finish would have been brick. It has now been stuccoed and painted over. However, the second floor is relatively intact.

This building was purchased in January of 2000. The new owners are now in the process of restoring it. In April (of 2000), the stucco covering the midsection of the building was removed exposing part of the original JC Penny's sign underneath.

1Date of construction is displayed on the front of the building.


Brown Building (1909)1 Southwest corner of Washington St. and W. Kennewick Ave.

Building in 1925
The Brown building was built by L. W. Brown of Pomeroy. He was originally interested in putting a building across the street from the C. E. Williams building, or on the SW corner of Washington and Kennewick Ave.2 He choose the latter.

This building survived until the early 1970s when it condemned to make room for parking. In 1910, the Brown Building was occupied by Hotel Koontz, Lynch's Department Store and the Library.3 Later on, the Commercial Hotel was located here along with the Golden Rule Store which closed shop in 1926 when J.C. Penny's moved into the C. E. Williams building.

1Date of construction was displayed on the front of the building.
2According to the Kennewick Reporter, 25 Dec. 1908.
3According to the Twin City Reporter, March 23, 1910.


Emigh-Howe building (c1910) 6 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building c. 1910

Building c. 1955

Summer 1999

This is now is the home of Washington Hardware. The front facade of this building is quite a bit different than when it was built. The roof detailing has been totally removed and the facade covered with a metal veneer. The photo sequence at the left is a good history of how buildings can be altered beyond recognition of their former selves.


Kennewick Transfer Building (c1910) 112 W. Kennewick Avenue
c. 1915

July 2000

This was home to the Kennewick Transfer Company and Stantons insurance office. Note the advertising words on the street lamp in front of the building.

The building, as it stands today, has the facade completely covered with a wood shingle veneer. To get a better idea what this building would have originally looked like, take a look at its neighbor at 114 W. Kennewick Ave.


Building (c1910) 114 W. Kennewick Avenue

May 2000
This building stands next to the Kennewick Transfer Company building. Currently, Smitty's occupies this building.

The exterior of this building is fairly original.


Charles H. Collins Co. Building (c1910) 107 N. Cascade St.

July 2000
The northeast corner of the Tri-City Herald building was originally a store selling feed, seed, fruit and produce. The Herald grew around the original structure.


Spike Ferrell's Livery Stable (c1910) Behind the Tri-City Herald building (southwest corner)

July 2000
This building was originally a livery stable. If you look closely, you can see the original windows that have since been bricked in.


Kennewick Highschool (1911) Italian Renaissance |


Farmers Exchange (c1912)1 215 Canal Dr.

Building c. 1920

Summer 1999

Originally built as a fruit warehouse, this building has housed the Farmers Exchange since 1939. The Exchange was originally started by Alfred Amon and Carl Williams and has been run by the Silliman family for most of its existence. For the most part, other than being painted, the exterior of this building is fairly intact.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


SP&S Trainstation (c1915) E. 3rd Ave (by Gum St.)

Burned in the 1950s.


Bestes Tire Store (c1915) 105 W. Kennewick Ave.

Photo taken 1921

July 2000

This was Kennewick's first gas station. Note the swastika-like symbol on the top of the building. This kind of symbol was often found in Native-American and folk art before the Nazis appropriated it for their own use.


Walla Walla Gas and Oil Building (1919) 313 W. Kennewick Ave.
Summer 1999
This was originally built to house the offices of a company that was searching for oil on Rattlesnake Mountain. Later on, this became the office of Dr. Spaulding.1 Dr. Spaulding built the Spaulding Home.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Richmond Implement Company building (c1920) Canal Dr.
Summer 1999
The front of this building is a recent addition.


The Toggery (c1920) N. Auburn St.
  This was a men's clothing store.


Kennewick Auto Company (c1920) 124 W. Kennwick Ave.
  This building was probably torn down in c. 1960 to make room for the current building standing on this site built in 1962.


Building (c1920) 205 W. Kennewick Ave.
c. 1950

June 2000

Standing between the Cox Building (1929), which is currently occupied by TL, and the Hover Block (1906) is this building which currently houses the Music Machine. In the 1950s, this was a clothing store.

The owners of the Music Machine are currently in the process of restoring the facade. The picture to the left, taken June 17, 2000, shows the recent removal of the metal facade.


The Murphy Building (1920)1 Missionesque | 101 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building c. 1960

Summer 1999

Originally this housed Liberty Theatre, which later became the Roxy Theatre. The exterior is fairly original except for the front of the building and the removal of the curved roof details. Note the unique round windows.

1Date of construction was displayed on the front of the building before being covered in later remodels.


Big Y building (1922) Across the railroad tracks from Canal (on Railroad Ave.)

Building c. 1922

Summer 1999

This was the home of the Yakima Fruit Growers Association run by H.W. Desgranges. The original name of the company is still barely visible.1

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


First Methodist Episcopal Church (1922) 2 South Dayton Street
First United Methodist Church, owner

Original church (1904)

Church c. 1935

Summer 1999

The Methodist community in Kennewick was organized in 1902, but it was not until Howard Amon donated lots in Amon’s Addition was a Gothic-style frame church built on the southwest corner of Kennewick Avenue and Dayton Street in 1904. Contractor A. V. McReynolds, a church member, supervised the construction of the 30-ft. by 54-ft. church fronting on Kennewick Avenue. The church began services there in April 1905 and the church building was dedicated in February 1906. A parsonage was built immediately south of the church in 1908.

As the town grew, the wood frame building became too crowded, and it was dismantled in 1920. Church services were held in a wooden tabernacle across Kennewick Avenue for two years while the new glazed burlap brick church, also in a Gothic style, was constructed in the same location. Again McReynolds superintended the work on the 56-ft. by 110-ft. structure with a 34-ft. by 52-ft. annex. Times were tough in Kennewick and there were many demands on the pocketbooks of the congregation. In late 1922, the new church finally opened and was dedicated in June 1923.

As Kennewick grew in the post-World War II years, the needs of the church increased. The parsonage was torn down and replaced by a visually compatible educational wing designed by Carson and Moe of Kennewick that was consecrated in October 1958. In the 1960s, the church purchased and demolished several houses on First Avenue to make room for parking. In 1998, the parking lot was paved and landscaped and a new roof replaced the forever-leaking slate one.

Among the finest interior features of the church are the priceless stained glass windows. These were purchased by and dedicated to some of Kennewick’s pioneers and can truly best be appreciated from the sanctuary. They have been recently protected and are beautifully lit at night. Also inside are the Ibach grand piano, an historic (1947) Moller electric pipe organ, and oak, carved altarpieces. The mechanical carillon in the bell tower brightens up downtown Kennewick with its beautiful music, while since 1947 the lighted cross in the tower has been a beacon for the community.


Neuman's Market Building (1929) 201 W. Kennewick Ave.

Building c. 1950

Summer 1999 (before sheet metal facade was removed)

June 2000 (after sheet metal facade was removed)

Up until recently, the original facade of red brick was hidden underneath sheet metal. In fall of 1999, the owner removed the metal sheeting and restored some of the brickwork, bringing back the original appearance of the building.

While the upper part of the building is fairly intact, the bottom and the roof line remain significantly altered.


The Cox Building (1929)1 203 W. Kennewick Ave.
c. 1950

Summer 1999

After its original occupant, this building later housed King's and then Visger's drug store. The Cox building had Kennewick's first neon sign.1

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Twin City Creamery (c1930) 110 Cascade St.
Summer 1999
This was the Twin City Creamery Building from the 1920's to the 1960's.1 The exterior is fairly original and even shows some Missionesque detailing.

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Campbell's Cannery (c1935) 201 Canal Dr.
Summer 1999
This building was built on the site of Antler's Hotel after it has been demolished. People brought their goods here to be canned.1

1Walk Historic Kennewick guide by Tom Moak (c. 1992).


Red & White Grocery Building (1937) 117 W. Kennewick Ave.
July 2000
This building is currently home to Evolution (formerly Martinis/Details), a night club. When it was built, it was dubbed as a very modern building as referenced by this article from the April 1, 1937 issue of the Kennewick Courier:

A.F. Brown putting up new building for Red and White Grocery, to be ready by June 1st.

The new business building being erected next to the local JC Penny's store will be Kennewick's first modernistic structure. It is being built by A. F. Brown and has been leased to E. S. McDonald, who will occupy the place with his Red & White grocery store.

The building will be fifty feet by seventy-five, of modern fireproof construction. There will be a small basement, large enough only to house the refrigeration plant. The heating will be from Mr. Brown's system in the phone building,* a larger boiler being installed for the purpose.

The front of the building will be striking in appearance, being constructed of cream and black Carrara glass, one of the newest of building materials. The decorations will be in the modernistic manner and will be Kennewick's outstanding business building. It will compare with the newest construction in the metropolitan centers.

Leases were signed the last of the week by McDonald and contract for construction was immediately let. Footings and the basement have already been put in place and the building will be rushed to completion. It is expected that the building will be ready for occupancy by the first of June at the latest.

*This is a reference to the C. E. Williams building that stands next door.


Benton Theatre (1948) 310 W. Kennewick Ave.

Benton Theatre c. 1955

Summer 1999

This building originally housed the Benton Theatre. If you look from the alleyway, you can see the original domed roof. The exterior of this building has been heavily modified.


Bateman Building (1949) 303-311 W. Kennewick Ave.

Bateman building, July 2000
The Bateman building was built upon the site of the old Hotel Kennewick (built 1906) that burned down the year before, in 1948.

The following article appeared about the building a 1949 issue of the Kennewick Courier-Reporter newspaper:

A new departure in architecture in the Northwest has been employed in the construction of the new Bateman Building at Kennewick Avenue and Cascade. This is the front of the building facing Kennewick Avenue which is known as a "splayed" front.

Designed by Robert H. Goss, Kennewick designer, the front serves a useful function. When the building is completed a second floor "corridor" shop will be included in that section of the building. The indented front affords an opportunity through the use of windows that reach to the floor to provide display space. In addition, the front makes possible a unique and effective lighting for the front of the building.

"The building is of functional design," Goss said, "planned for the fullest use of all space."

He added that there is "nothing fancy" about it. Plenty of strength has been provided though the use of masonry and reinforced concrete walls with mill construction.

Roman brick, an old and popular material, has been employed in the east wing. This brick will be combined with limestone in the front of the building.

When completed, the building will provide 28,000 square feet of space to make it the largest commercial structure in Kennewick. Throughout, the building has been designed for the greatest possible fire safety. A fire hose system is being installed in all parts of the structure.


JC Penny's Building (1949)1 12 W. Kennewick Ave.

Upstairs interior c. 1955

Main floor c. 1955

Currently housing Helig-Meyers Furniture, this was actually the second home of JC Penny's (the first was in the CE Williams Building).

Thanks to Joyce Scharold for the pictures of the interior of the building.

1Date of construction is displayed on the front of the building (behind the sign).


E. C. Smith's Ford Garage (c. 1950) N. Auburn St.

July 2000
This building was originally a Ford dealership. Note the glass block walls that are a hallmark of many 1950s buildings.


Research, photography and architectural analysis by Jeremy Wells. Source material from the EBCHS archives. Thanks to Tom Moak for his in-depth knowledge of local buildings. Do you have anything to add or correct? Please e-mail the EBCHS at ebchs@gte.net

EBCHS home page ebchs @ verizon.net