The Parlet Building, Spring, 2021
Historic District Downtown Building Inventory
Parlet Building (Site ID 2)
Classification: Historic Contributing
According to the 1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, a small furniture and barbershop stood on this site. These smaller buildings were replaced in 1915 when ranchers F.I. and Ella Parlet constructed the existing building as an investment property. The upper story was designed for use as professional offices (later apartments) and the lower floor as a commercial garage space. J.M. Felthouse and Hadley Ford Garage were early occupants of the garage, and Jim A. Butler, owner of Butler Motor Company, occupied the commercial space from 1923 to his death in 1948. The building remained in the Parlet family after F.I. and Ella's deaths in the 1930s.
Following Butler's death in 1948, the business was sold to William Koller and Herman Koller. The Parlet family sold the building to Ferd Herres in 1959 for his Chevrolet Dealership. The upstairs is currently used for apartments.
Description: The two-story rectangular building has a sloped roof enclosed by a raised brick parapet. The Parlet Building has a projecting cornice, interior brick chimneys, decorative square stucco panels in the frieze flanking the stucco sign panel stating "1915 Parlet 1915", three bays separated by raised brick pilasters, and second-story fixed-pane windows on the front (south) facade. Concrete lintels with keystones are above the upper story windows. The building has a rock and concrete foundation. All the storefront windows and doors, and the side windows have been altered (circa 1960s); however, the window and bay openings are intact. A one-story addition was built on the east side of the building circa 1929 for use as a machine shop. The addition has a flat roof, brick veneer siding, masonry foundation, and a roll-up metal garage door.
Based on research by Donovan & Associates.
Hadley Motor Co.
Hadley Motor Co. Mid 1921 advertisement. Not a very exciting ad.
Butler Motor Co.
Looking in the front window of the Butler Motor Co. during the early 1920s
Butler Motor Co. had a great idea for Christmas gifts in December of 1923.
The Parlet Building during the 1920s. Get your gasoline right on the curb. I can't tell the brand of gasoline from this image.
(Later: There are at least two Red Crown Gasoline signs in this photo. That might be a hint.)
Butler Motor Co. employees out in front of the Parlet Building during the 1930s. You could still get your gasoline right on the curb. It's Shell. The offices on the second floor were now apartments, according to the sign on the far side of this image.
News from September, 1930, as seen in the "Down Memory Lane" column of September 25, 1980:
Kyle McGrady, mechanic at the Butler Motor Company, saw one of the small Austin automobiles of English make, at Walla Walla last week. He said the car seemed so tiny as compared with American small cars that it was more like a plaything than a reliable means of transportation. However, the little car is said to be effecient and gets from 40 to 60 miles to the gallon of gasoline.
In England, cars are taxed by the horsepower, and the rate is extremely high. Gasoline is also high priced in the British Isles.
This photo was dated "1934," but the one-story addition directly to the east is missing, so this is either pre-1929 or the addition went up later than 1929. (See intro at the top of this page.) The gasoline on the curb is now Standard Gasoline. I can't read what the arrow-shaped sign reads.
This sure looks like the car in the photo above.
If you were a car buff, this news from the October 24, 1935, East Washingtonan might have piqued your interest.
New Ford Auto Is Shown At Butler's
J. A. Butler, local Ford dealer returned Monday from Seattle where he attended the preview showing of the new Ford V-8 for 1936. "The new Ford is everything the 1935 Ford was," he declared, "with many refinements and improvements which make it truly the best car Henry Ford ever built. It will be on display in our showrooms after Saturday, the 19th."
More than one thousand Ford dealers and salesmen from all parts of Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho and western Montana gathered at the Seattle meeting Tuesday, to get their first glimpse of the new model.
The meeting which was one of many held simultaneously throughout the United States, was officially opened with an address of welcome by H. H. Wilcox, Seattle branch manager of the Ford Motor company.
Following several interesting talks on plans for the coming year and the showing of films which depicted the growth of the Ford organization, the new cars were unveiled and dealers saw for the first time, the new models.
In commenting upon the sales of the past season, Wilcox declared, "the successful year of leadership we have enjoyed was due to two sound reasons responsible for the success of any business. First, the product is of proven quality, and, second, every member of our Ford organization in every part of this country did a fine job of selling. The public is appreciative of the sincere and reliable business methods we use and this year, I predict, we will do an even better job because our product is further proven and we intend to undertake a more intensive program of promotion and salesmanship than ever before."
Unfortunately, someone wanted whatever was on the other side of this page, but here's most of the advertisement.
This advertisement from the summer of 1936 was one column wide. I wonder what the prices were on those cars.
It's chronologically in order, but owner-wise, it's a bit early. From a January, 1971, "Down Memory Lane" column looking back at 1941, we have this snippet on Ferd Herres, the future owner of the Parlet Building.
Another "Down Memory Lane" snippet, this time from October 3, 1974, looking back to 1944 and Ferd Herres in World War II:
Leonard Herres received a letter recently from his brother, Capt. Ferdinand Herres, a pilot on a B-17 bomber, stating that he had had completed the required number of missions over enemy territory. He wrote that the regrettable thing was that his crew and he had to bail out of their ship on the last flight when their No. 4 engine caught fire.
News from March, 1948, as seen in the "Down Memory Lane" column of March 13, 1958:
The Butler Motor company, owned and operated by the late James Butler for a quarter of a century and for 25 years Garfield county agent for Ford motor company products, has been sold by Mr. Butler's widow, Veva Butler, to William H. Koller and son, Herman Koller.
News from March, 1952, as seen in the "Down Memory Lane" column of March 27, 1957:
Johnnie Capwell, recently discharged from a reservist hitch in the navy, has resumed his position with Wells Motor company as parts man. Verle Whittaker held the position while Capwell was in the service.
Seen in the East Washingtonian classifieds of September 20, 1956.
I wonder how much it was. Across the street at the Revere, a three room apartment was $55/month with utilities included.
Ed Wells of the local Ford dealership is an authority in this article from November 29, 1956:
Just Push Button, Car's Top Folds Into Trunk
The first revolutionary new idea in automotive design since the devolptment [sic] of the closed car 40 years ago was unveiled today by Ford division of Ford Motor company. It is a hardtop model with a fully retractable steel top which at the touch of a button slides automatically into the car's trunk, according to Ed Wells, local Ford dealer.
The functional design of the first automatic all-weather car has resulted in a distinctive appearance previously unattained by any hardtop model. The new car combines the advantages of both a hard top and a convertible.
Publication today of photographs of a finished model of the Ford retractable ended nearly five years of secrecy. In that time, Ford's stylists and engineers perfected a design which has been a long-sought goal of the auto industry. The six passenger two door car is scheduled for production starting in January, and it will be sold by Ford dealers. It will be the featured car at the New York automobile show opening December 8.
Operation of the retractable is deceptively simple. An instrument panel button is touched to raise or lower the steel top. Electric motors do the rest in a matter of seconds. But years of research were required to perfect the design. In the testing program, the top mechanisms have been operated approximately 10,000 times, equivalent to 30 years of normal service.
Ferd Herres Chevrolet
It's September, 1966, and the NEW Chevrolet is coming to town!
Later in September and Chevy rolls out its newest vehicle, the Camaro.
Ferd Herres is featured in this article from the September 22, 1966, issue of the East Washingtonian.
Chevrolet Offers Sixth Car Line
For the 1967 car buyer, Chevrolet stresses choice with a capital "C," reports Ferd Herres; local Chevrolet dealer.
"Intoduction of the Camaro as Chevrolet's sixth line of cars matches the American public's growing preference for individualized transportation," he declared.
Herres said the 48 new models of Chevrolet, Chevelle, Chevy II, Corvair, Corvette and Camaro offer an "unparalleled variety of sizes, body styles, options and safety features." They go on sale Thursday, September 29.
Two models of the personal-size Camaro —a coupe and a convertible that Estes terms "four passenger packages of excitement," - are built on a 108-inch wheelbase.
"Camaro offers the greatest choice of engines, trims, options and accessories Chevrolet has ever introduced with a new line of cars," Herres said. "The buyer can literally tailor his own automobile."
Also new for 1967 is a top-of-the-line Chevelle station wagon named "Concours" which has wood-grain exterior trim.
Many important new safety-related product improvements are standard equipment on all 1967 Chevrolets. They range from an energy-absorbing steering column and dual master cylinder brake sysem with warning light to passenger-guard door locks and a four-way hazard warning flasher.
Front disc brakes are available as options on regular Chevrolet, Chevelle, Chevy II and Camaro models. Four-wheel disc brakes are continued as standard on Corvettes.
Ferd Herres Chevrolet
December 24, 1970, Christmas advertising special, E-W
(At the time this advertisement ran, Farm & Home Supply was across the street from Ferd's Chevrolet dealership. It is now ) located in the Parlet Building.)