Pullman: Early Downtown Businesses is the first joint exhibit between the Whitman County Historical Society (WCHS) and the Washington State University Libraries Department of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC). Drawing on the collections of WCHS, MASC, and the Neill Public Library, this exhibit provides a glimpse of a small group of Pullman's important early businesses including merchants, hotels, drug stores, and banks. Starting with only two farms (owned by Bowlin Farr and Daniel McKenzie in the 1870s), Pullman has changed dramatically, enduring fires and floods, expanding from the natural development affecting any small college town. The buildings of many of these early enterprises still stand, though greatly transformed. Ties between downtown Pullman and Washington's land grant college are seen throughout the exhibit in the souvenir china, business advertising in campus newspapers, and the services that grew to accommodate students, such as bathing facilities and transportation home.

The Whitman County Historical Society and WSU MASC would like to especially thank the Neill Public Library, Robert Luedeking, Kathryn Meyer, and Ken Vogel, for their contributions to this exhibit.

Views from the Exhibit


Photograph of the Burgan Jordan Block exterior located on the Northwest corner of Main Street and Alder (now Kamiaken) with a Burgan Emerson carriage in front. To the right, the outline of Pullman's second City Hall is visible. The structure was rebuilt after a fire in 1916 to house the First Nation Bank of Pullman- see photographs of the Old National Bank-the space is now occupied by Design West Architects. WCHS Archives.
In this enlarged post card of the Artesian Hotel produced ca. 1910, N. Turner Shirley, son of E. A. Shirley, stands in front of the door on the left without a hat. Shirley managed the Artesian and was present during the 1910 flood. Above the hotel, the Palmerton House is visible. Mr. Palmerton at one time owned the Artesian.
Interior view of the Burgan Emerson store with college merchandise for sale in the foreground. WCHS Archives.
Interior of White's Drug with the three White Brothers ca. 1890. WSU MASC PC 2.

Maps Texts