MARCH 16, 2024 : The French Saloon Men of Walla Walla

Our event in November had to be canceled, but the French Saloon Men are back, and it’s going to be even better than before. Join us for light appetizers and wine and some high-alcohol history at Three Rivers Winery on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 6 pm to hear Sarah Hurlburt and Susan Monahan dish the dirt — er, dig up some history. Tickets are 65$ each and may be purchased online or (if you’d like to avoid the credit card fees) by mailing a check to Frenchtown Historical Foundation, PO Box 1224, Walla Walla WA 99362. Get your tickets now — it’s going to be a fun party.

In 1905 Walla Walla had 13,000 people and over thirty saloons. Saloons were regulated; no women allowed (except for prostitutes), no gambling (except for all the time) and no liquor sales on Sunday (except for… well, you get the idea.) More than half of these establishments were located on Main street between 3rd and 5th, and the biggest one of all was the Louvre Hotel, owned by a Frenchman named Seraphin “Frank” Davin and a Swiss named Xavier Michellod.  

Sanborn fire map of Main street Walla Walla from 2nd Ave to 5th Ave in 1905. Pink indicates brick buildings; purple squares are saloons.

Two doors down, the Eureka saloon was owned by Swiss Lucien Genevay and French Canadian Joe La Fortune. Around the corner, Joe Charrier’s Frog saloon kept the glasses full. The very shady Mottet brothers (yep, also French) had their fingers in the pie as well.

We’ll have some tantalizing documents floating around to browse, and a silent auction of historical memorabilia to raise money for the Frenchtown historical Foundation.

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