Red Apple Restaurant – Walla Walla, Washington

Cardboard America

For more than five decades, the Red Apple Restaurant served patrons at all hours in downtown Walla Walla, Washington. After years of semi-neglect and mismanagement, the Red Apple closed in late 1999.

In 1948 the a new restaurant was opened at #57 (E. Main St. in downtown Walla Walla). The cafe and fountain, dubbed the Red Apple w under the direct management of popular restaurant Aber Mathison; Baker and Partner Gabe Gross and Fountain Manager and Partner Sam Raguso. The Red Apple was advertised as “Walla Walla’s Ultra Modern Cafe, Catering to People Who Care. Open 7 A.M. to 1 A.M.”

Red Apple opens, 1948

1948 – Photo courtesy of Bygone Walla Walla


The restaurant thrived throughout the 1950s, but times were changing and renovations were needed. The fountain was no longer in vogue and something contemporary was needed. The idea was to add wood paneling and a fake apple tree to provide a modern, outdoor atmosphere on Main Street. This postcard, published in 1968, highlights the tree and a modern girl with a late 1960s haircut and fashion to match.

Red Apple

Come and Join Me At
Under the same careful management for twenty years, this fine restaurant, featuring 24-hour service and a conference room, is located at 57 E. Main in downtown Walla Walla where the first business establishment in the city once stood. A real apple tree grew approximately where this lovely artificial tree now stands.

The Red Apple changed ownership numerous times and would struggle to remain open throughout the 90s. According to WW2020, “On January 17, 1991 the Tuckers sold the property to Greg and Gwen Baden for $165,000. On January 28th the Badens were granted a gambling license. In 1996 and 1999 there was city action for failure to pay gambling taxes. During these years the property on the corner was occupied by computer networking, telephone paging,mortgage and advertising businesses. On October 1, 1999 the property was sold by the Badens to Thomas and Amy Glase and Mark T. and Paulette R. Perry for $400,000.”

I ate at the Red Apple numerous times right before they closed. It will also have a soft spot in my heart.

Red Apple restaurant razed, 1999

The Red Apple right after its closure, ca. late 1999/early 2000. Courtesy of Bygone Walla Walla.


A little more info on the building and the history of the Red Apple from WW2020:

Beauty Art was at #59 and the Electric Supply remained at #61 until 1953. The S.E. Washington Fair Association and the Walla Walla Feed Directors Association shared space with the restaurant. In 1954 Herb Himes Hub electrical appliances (and Henry Gies vacuum cleaners) occupied #61. In 1956 DeBunce Studio (photography) occupied #59. These occupants all continued until 1962 when #59 became vacant. On March 21, 1961 Harry Winget sold this property (135.83 feet x 86.78 feet) to Herb Himes for $107,250. In 1968 Himes transferred his interest in the area behind the store to the City of Walla Walla in exchange for the city covering Mill Creek to create a parking lot.

On November 30, 1975 Herb Himes sold his property to Whitman College for $95,888.33. The Hub continued to operated under the ownership of Phil and Sharon Van Houte and Bev and Charles Balmer. Whitman College assigned their contract to Samuel Lewis Raguso for $117,770. Sam Raguso’s estate transferred title on August 26. 1980 to Alan, Rodney and Sam Raguso who sold the property to Ronnie and Terry Tucker on November 16, 1982 for $150,000. China and Things started operations as a gift shop on the balcony at The Hub in 1981. Robert Hanson was the manager of the Red Apple Restaurant and Lounge in 1983. On January 17, 1991 the Tuckers sold the property to Greg and Gwen Baden for $165,000. On January 28th the Badens were granted a gambling license. In 1996 and 1999 there was city action for failure to pay gambling taxes.


The Red Shell Game

Pamphlets and Brochures

Let’s not gamble with America!

This is a 4 page pamphlet given out in 1948 to stem the “RED TIDE”. It was distributed on “Freedom Day” in September of 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. Due to the success of that (whatever that means) it is highly recommended that it be distributed throughout Gary, Indiana.




Championship Wrestling from St. Louis – September 24, 1948

Cardboard America

Postcard advertising the September 24, 1948 card

This is an advertising postcard for Championship Wrestling from St. Louis on Friday, September 24, 1948.

This was a really interesting find for me. Most people don’t know that I am a fan of this history of professional wrestling. In my years of collecting I had never come across anything like this.

There is nothing particularly interesting about the card that took place on September 24, 1948 but that year was one of the most pivotal years in the history of professional wrestling and for St. Louis entertainment.

The main event  of this card featured a One Fall to a Finish between Enrique Torres (the Mexican Mat Sensation and Conqueror of Wild Bill Longson) and the legendary N.W.A. (National Wrestling Association – not THAT NWA) champion Lou Thesz.

Lou Thesz won the National Wrestling Association title from Wild Bill Longson a few months before this on July 10, 1948.

Orville Brown was the other NWA champion. It was all very territorial and confusing.

Before the National Wrestling Alliance was founded in 1948, there were many regional professional wrestling promotions across North America (each promoting its own “World” champion). None of them, however, had backing or recognition outside of their own respective geographic base-areas.

The concept of the NWA was to consolidate the championships of these regional companies into one true world championship of pro wrestling, whose holder would be recognized worldwide.

In 1948, Paul “Pinkie” George, a promoter from the Midwest, founded the original version of the National Wrestling Alliance with the backing of five other promoters (Al Haft, Tony Strecher, Harry Light, Orville Brown, and Sam Muchnick). This newly formed NWA Board of Directors wanted Brown to be the first-ever NWA World champion.

However, on November 1, 1949, Orville Brown suffered a career-ending automobile accident and 26 days later Lou Thesz was awarded the title.
The Mississippi Valley Sport Club had a

St. Louis Star and Times, September 24, 1948

Here’s a little history of the Mississippi Valley Sports Club. Special thanks to the Legacy of Wrestling website:

The Mississippi Valley Sports Club was formed after the purchase of Tom Packs’ wrestling interests in St. Louis in June 1948.  At that point, wrestler Lou Thesz owned 55% of the new promotion, Bill Longson owned 35%, Toronto promoter Frank Tunney owned 5% and Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn owned 5%.

Martin Thesz became the “front” for the organization in the St. Louis market and the
promoter of record for all shows.  At that point, Lou Thesz was in the midst of a heated war in St. Louis against rival Sam Muchnick.  Muchnick, in July 1948, helped form the National Wrestling Alliance, a cooperative union of bookers looking to better assist each other in rivalries such as the one he was engaged in.  With assistance coming in from Al Haft in Ohio and Tony Stecher in Minnesota, Muchnick was looking to get an upper hand on his enemy.
This wasn’t a staged “war” as seen so many times in pro wrestling, but a serious business conflict that would see the winner capitalize on the huge St. Louis wrestling market.  There was a great deal of money on the line, and neither Muchnick nor Thesz wanted to give up.

However, all things must come to an end one way or another. Muchnick and Thesz met in 1949 and figured out a way to meld their interests.  The St. Louis conflict officially ended in August 1949 with the two men becoming even partners.  However, another source stated that Muchnick held two percentage points more than Thesz.

To maintain the illusion of competition in St. Louis and to keep the integrity of the two individual promotions, both the Mississippi Valley Sports Club (Arcade Building) and Sam Muchnick Wrestling Attractions (Claridge Hotel) offices remained opened.  In front of the public and other state officials, there was never a peace agreement.

Simply, Muchnick and Thesz didn’t want people to know that there was now a monopoly over the booking and promotions of pro wrestling in the city.

Back to this specific card for that night.

The results, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on September 25, 1948:

Note: The scan is a little blurry so I decided to type out the results as well.

FIRST MATCH – Joe Dusek pinned Ray Gunkle with a body flop in 16:44
AUSTRALIAN TEAM MATCH – Chris and Babe Zaharias beat Joe Millich & Mickey Gold in two straight falls, Gold was disqualified in 13:48 and Millich was pinned by Chris Zaharias in 2:54 of second round
SEMI-FINAL – Al Lovelock pinned Killer Karl David with a body slam in 15:66 (has to be either 15:06 or 16:06)
MAIN EVENT – Lou Thesz defeated Enrique Torres when the bout was stopped at 33:41 after Torres suffered a cut over his eye.