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 1962 Seattle World’s Fair: Day 1

Cardboard America, World's Fairs

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the opening of the Seattle World’s Fair. The Fair has been written, studied and broken apart by people much smarter than me, so I feel I can’t add much in the way of long form essays or deep research. Instead, I will share newspaper clippings, postcards, photos, ephemera videos off and on until October 21st, when the fair closed.

President John F.  Kennedy signaled the opening of the Fair via radip signal from a gold telegraph key in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Tennessean, 22 Apr 1962, Sun, BLUE STAR Edition, Page 17

Article about the opening of the Fair – The Tennesseean – April 21, 1962



The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, as it will look on opening day, April 21, 1962, in Seattle, Washington. Shown from the left are the Concert Hall and Arts Center, the Coliseum with 11-story roof, the U.S. Science Pavilion (arching towers) and the 550-foot Space Needle topped by a revolving restaurant. First high speed mass-transit Monorail connects the world’s fair ground with downtown Seattle.


Another early postcard with an artist’s conception of how the Fair would look. Note the complete different top of the Space Needle


Postcard showing how the Fair really looked at the opening

I will share more about the buildings, the Space Needle, the Monorail and the rides as the days go on. Sit back, relax and enjoy the Fair.

Coon Chicken Inn

Cardboard America, Uncategorized

I want to start by saying that there is no way I could ever possibly do a good enough job covering the racial significance of this chain of restaurant to warrant a full post. That is definitely best left to sites such as the Jim Crow Museum, the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor Project, and everyone else far more qualified than me.

However, I will touch on a bit of the history of these locations and share some advertising and other pieces of history that might not be shared elsewhere.

According to

Maxon Lester Graham and his wife Adelaide founded the Coon Chicken Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1925. The early success of this location prompted the opening of two additional chains in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington in the early 1930s. The patrons and employees of the Coon Chicken Inn chains were predominantly white, though African-Americans were hired to work in the kitchen of the Salt Lake City branch.

The first Coon Chicken Inn:

The second location in  Seattle location opened in 1929 at 8500 Bothell Way.


Courtesy of the fabulous Restaurant-ing Through History

The Portland restaurant was the third and final location and it opened in 1931 and closed in 1949.

Coon Chicken Inn - Portland, Oregon

From my collection


The 1942 postcard order form for the Portland location from Curt Teich & Co. and the Illinois Digital Archives.

Patrons would enter the restaurant through the mouth of the caricatures

The huge, 12-foot black face was added to attract more children and families to the restaurant, the history states.

Election Night, November 8, 1932 advertising from The Salt Lake Tribune

Here’s a little history from the Coon Chicken Inn website:

All three sites were booming and a cabaret and orchestra were added in Seattle and Salt Lake with a larger dining room and the addition of delivery trucks for outside catering. 

Maxon decided that if a gimmick were added for the children, it would help bring in the parents. He added the famous head logo to the entrances of the Inns it was a huge winking, grinning face of a black man wearing a porters cap. The words “Coon Chicken Inn” were spelled out on teeth framed by monstrous red lips. The doorway was through the middle of the mouth. At the time it proved quite popular. The logo of the Inn was on every dish, silverware item, menu and paper product.

The Salt Lake Tribune – May 3, 1934

There was a variety of food served but the specialty of the house was, of course, fried chicken. Flickr user Krystal South has uploaded the menu. The cover, the left inside, the right inside and the back cover.

The caricature was controversial from the beginning. At the 1930 Seattle location, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in conjunction with The Northwest Enterprise, an African-American newspaper protested the opening of the restaurant. A lawsuit was filed claiming defamation of race. The restaurant agreed to remove the “Coon” name from all delivery cars and to pain the entrance face blue instead of black.

But according to the site, he eventually violated his agreement with the NAACP. The restaurants in Oregon and Washington closed in 1949, but Salt Lake City’s remained open until 1957.

In the late 1950s the Grahams got out of the restaurant business, keeping the properties and leasing them out to other restaurant operators. 

The final Coon Chicken in Salt Lake City closed in 1957.

The Salt Lake City and Seattle sites have been razed. Only the Portland site remains

The Portland site became the Prime Rib years ago and it is still going.


You can see the shell of its former occupants.

Only that building and the lasting memories of the past are left of a business that thrived for more than two decades.

Tyee Motor Inn – Olympia, Washington

Cardboard America

Where The Real Business of the Legislature Was Done

The Tyee Motor Inn in Tumwater (Olympia) first opened it doors in June 1958 and featured 39 modest rooms and few amenities. After a few years the Motor Inn expanded and become a luxury motel with a restaurant and bar. into a luxury motel and by 1961 had become a popular convention and banquet hall. It also became an unofficial home for Washington state legislators.

 500 Tyee Drive Olympia, Wash. 98501 What began in 1960 as a modest restaurant-motel business has grown through public acceptance and acclaim into one of the West's finest finest motor inns, and now serves as the dining and social headquarters of Southern Puget Sound. Master Hosts.

According to an October 4, 1999 article by Peter Callaghan in The (Olympia) News Tribune:

“Anyone who experienced Tumwater’s Tyee Motor Inn during its glory days uses the same description: It’s where the real business of the Legislature was done.”

“Committees may have have met in the capital office buildings. Representatives and senators performed official duties in the domed Legislative Building. But the deals were cut in the dining room, around the pool, in the bar – and sometimes in the bedrooms of the Tyee.”

“The sprawling motel was the winter home to about a quarter of the members of the Legislature and many of the lobbyists. Love entertainment, sometimes including national acts like Frank Sinatra and Liberace, helped pack the lounge. The Jacuzzi suites near the pool were a popular venue for rowdy parties hosted by some of the state’s most powerful special interests.”

During the 1960s the motel owners continued to expand the motel and by January 1970 the Tyee Motor Inn boasted 209 units and 11 banquet rooms.


On January 27, 1970, an accidental fire severely damaged the motel. The fire started in or near an overhead broiler in the motel’s kitchen. The 209-unit motel, valued at at least $3.4 million, sustained major damage, with only 39 units and 11 cabanas left standing after the fire. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Daily Chronice, January 27, 1970

The postcard on top (courtesy of SwellMap) shows what the original complex looked like before the fire. I believe the second postcard pre-dates the fire and shows the fantastic mid-century entrance . The third postcard features an elevated view of the newly rebuilt complex showcasing the new pool and manicured trees and yard.

After the fire, the Tyee was rebuilt but struggled to regain its status as the place to be and get deals done.

The Daily Chronicle – October 5, 1972

The rebuilt complex suffered anther fire in 1972. This one started in the room next to trumpeter Harry James. 11 cabana units were destroyed.

Again the Tyee was rebuilt but newer hotels brought newer amenities and nicer lounges. Newly signed reforms requiring disclosure of expenses for entertainment by lobbyists lead to a steady decline

After the fire, the Tyee was rebuilt but struggled to regain its status as the place to be and get deals done.

The rebuilt complex suffered anther fire in 1972. This one started in the room next to trumpeter Harry James. 11 cabana units were destroyed.

Again, the Tyee was rebuilt but newer hotels brought newer amenities and nicer lounges. Newly signed reforms requiring disclosure of expenses for entertainment by lobbyists lead to a very steady decline.

Peter Callaghan’s article mentions the sad end of the Tyee:

“Brad Nelson, the Tyee’s last manager, said the hotel lost out in competition with cheaper motels and the other full-service hotels that have been kept up over the years. The Tyee’s final owners – Starwood Hotels and Resorts – decided to sell rather than renovate.”

The Tyee’s days were numbered. The Inn was torn down in October, 1999. A Fred Meyer store occupies the space now.

Top of the Ocean Restaurant – Tacoma, Washington

Cardboard America

The Top of the Ocean was once a popular “luxury liner” restaurant in Tacoma, Washington. Located at 2211 Ruston Way in Tacoma, “The Top” was built along Commencement Bay to resemble a docked ocean liner. Architect Charles Kenworthy designed the restaurant and it was constructed by an actual boat company, Tacoma Boat Mart, at a cost of over $260,000.

The Top of the Ocean opened on December 15, 1946 and quickly became a hotspot for locals. Over 700 patrons at a time could fit in the restaurant, lounge and three decks.


From the beginning, the Tacoma Athletic Commission had used the top deck of The Top of the Ocean as their headquarters. In 1948, the commission purchased the entire restaurant and opened it to the public.  The commission would only own the restaurant for three years before selling it to Roger Peck.

Over the next 25 years the restaurant would see several owners but very few changes. The Top was something an old Tacoma institution. In 1977, the restaurant would be deliberately set ablaze and a fascionating trial ensued.

On the morning of April 3, 1977, an arsonist, using an accelerant, torched the the Top of the Ocean. The  fire spread quickly and burned for two hours. Damage to the landmark restaurant was originally estimated at over $500,000 but would actually be more in the $1 million dollar range.

The Daily News – April 4, 1977

Fire investigators immediately determined that the blaze was intentional. The next day, a taxi driver named Richard Black would be the person to finger the assailant. Black told arson investigators that he had driven a man to the Top of the Ocean the previous day and he helped the person load and unload several gallon cans of paint thinner.

Almost immediately, 27 year old David Willard Levage was arrested on suspicion of arson. Employees of the restaurant told the police that Levage had been ejected from the restaurant for drunk and disorderly behavior on multiple occasions. In the fact, the night before the fire Levage had been kicked out for harassing customers and staff. He was released from custody after posting $10,000 bail.

After a lengthy trial where Levage told the jury that he was having trouble remembering. Levage was found guilty and sentenced to a maximum of 20 years and sent to  his new home at the Washington State Correctional Center in Shelton.

The story doesn’t end then there. More than one year later, a federal grand jury in Seattle indicted Levage, Pierce County Sheriff, George Janovich, local crime boss John Carbone, and 12 others, for racketeering. It was determined that Levage was one of Carbone’s arsonists for hire. Ultimately everyone but Levage was found guilty of racketeering and other charges.

There were plans to rebuild the Top of the Ocean, but the money from the insurance settlement did not cover all the damage done by the fire. The property would be unoccupied for 20 years.


Metro Parks Tacoma would eventually acquire the property and build a plank-style walkway over the water, where the restaurant original pilings remained. Ten years later, the Tacoma Historical Society, City of Tacoma, Tacoma Athletic Commission and other sponsors, dedicated a small monument to the old Restaurant. The monument is a three-dimensional replica of the “ocean liner” in bronze. It was sculpted by Paul Michaels,  and dedicated to the memories of the Top of the Ocean.



Steve’s Gay 90’s – South Tacoma, Washington

Cardboard America


Steve’s Gay 90’s restaurant was located at 5238-40 South Tacoma Way in South Tacoma, Washington. Originally known as Steve’s Cafe, the restaurant was opened by Steve Pease and John Stanley in 1941. After a few years of operation the name was changed to better fit its atmosphere and decor.

The restaurant offered cocktails and American food served smorgasbord style for a nominal charge, with dining music  and entertainment in the evening. The Gay Nineties had a smorgasbord table and booths decorated to appear like “surreys with fringe on top.” Checked table cloths and wagon wheel chandeliers complete the down home look.

In the mid-fifties, Steve’s added to their unique treasure trove an actual cable car, converted to street driving, bought at auction in San Francisco and driven to Tacoma.


A postcard showing the newly acquired cable car


Steve’s as it looked several years later.

The Cable Car Room then opened with replicas of Tacoma and San Francisco cable cars as booths in the cocktail lounge.

The crowning gem was the Opera House, opened in a mid fifties expansion, furnished with antiques from the South Tacoma mansions and featuring a twice nightly floor show with can can girls, among other performers.


Sadly, due to years of declining business, Steve’s business partner “redistributing” restaurant, and changing tastes, Steve’s Gay 90’s Restaurant closed its doors in 1977. The building has gone through numerous changes but the shell of the sign survives.

You can see 54 images of Steve’s from the Tacoma Library’s image archive here.

Other information:

Close Cover: Seattle Restaurants, Part Two

Close Cover

This is part two in a series of Seattle restaurant matchbooks.

 1. Les Brainard’s New Grove Restaurant


Les Brainard welcomes you to Seattle’s New Grove Restaurant, Renowned in the West for its excellent cuisine and friendly atmosphere. Charcoal broiled foods our specialty . Luncheons – Dinners – Banquet Rooms for Private Parties – Cocktails – Music – AAA Approved – dinner reservations appreciated.

Les Brainard was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana and came to Seattle during the Great Depression.  He started working in a restaurant, washing dishes and finally earned enough to purchase the restaurant in which he was working. The restaurant,now called Les Brainard’s was located at Secena Street and 2nd Avenue in Seattle. It was a fairly small place but he built it up to be something over the years.

The Grove was started in the early 1950s  at 522 Wall Street and struggled to gain a foothold. Les Brainard would eventually purchase the restaurant in 1956. Brainard would sell his eponymous restaurant shortly after to focus his energy on the Grove. Renovations were done and a new decor, complete with indoor trees and waitress dressed in kimonos, brought new life and success to the restaurant. The New Grove was born.


Wikimedia Commons

For the next 25 years, the New Grove was a happening place to eat. Brainard sold the restaurant in 1977. It closed sometime after that. Les Brainard passed away in 1990 at the age of 81.



2. Kirkpatrick’s

Kirkpatrick’s, located at 416 Union, was an Irish themed restaurant that either before or during World War II. Featuring the full-Irish theme of leprechauns, shamrocks, harps, fairies; the restaurant served Irish-style food and drinks in The Blarney Room. You can see the menu above for their complete menu ca. 1944. I can’t tell how long the restaurant stayed in business but it doesn’t appear that it made it to the 1960s.


3. Roland’s Market Restaurant

Now this one is an absolute doozy. I cannot find anything. There is nothing on any search engine, in any newspaper archive or anything else. The location, at 8071 S. Tacoma Way, is a strip mall so that doesn’t help. I am guessing from the design and font on this 30-strike matchbook that it was around in 1980s/early 1990s. Let me know if you know anything about Roland’s.


4. Leo’s Fountain Cafe

“Meet Me at Leo’s” was the slogan of this small fountain cafe started by a man named Leo Cruise. Located at 45th and University Way, Leo’s appears to have been a 24-hour restaurant or at least open very late.


5. King’s Row Restaurant and Jester’s Room

The King’s Row Restaurant Jester’s Room were located at 3935 Stoneway in Seattle. I have not be able to find much of anything about this place. Looking at the map, the building has been torn down and replaced with apartments/condos. The restaurant appears to have been open from the late 50s/early 60s until the 1980s. Again, if you have any information leave a comment.



6. Terry’s Coffee Shop

Terry’s was located at 3401 4th Ave. South in Seattle. They advertised the best hotcake in town, I wonder if that was even remotely true. I mean, sometime’s these hole-in-the-wall type places have the best food. The proprietorswere Terry and Midlred Martinez. It’s gone now

Close Cover: Seattle Restaurants, Part One

Close Cover

wa-seattle-ivars-acres-of-clams-the-captains-table-1 wa-seattle-ivars-acres-of-clams-the-captains-table-2 wa-seattle-ivars-acres-of-clams-the-captains-table-3

1. Ivar’s Acres of Clams & The Captain’s Table

Ivar’s Acres of Clams is a Seattle institution. The restaurant, opened by Seattle folk-singer Ivar Hagland, originally opened in 1938, but this incarnation, at the same location, opened in 1946. There are numerous location, but only a few actual restaurants. You can check out their website for all of the locations.

The Captain’s Table opened in 1964 at 333 Elliott Ave. W. At one time The Captain’s Table was the gauche spot to have a classy seafood meal in Seattle. But in the 1970s business slowed a bit and the restaurant was changed to a more family-friendly vibe. In 1991, faced with the cost of significant structural repairs to the building, which they did not own, The Captain’s Table was relocated to the town of Mukilteo and renamed Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing. It is still open to this day.


2. Hofbrau

Hofbrau, a German restaurant was located at 5th & Lenora, directly under the monorail track, in downtown Seattle. The restaurant offered a “Tyrolean” Atmosphere & lively Bavarian band. It touted itself as the restaurant “where fun and fine food clap hands.” It appeared to be around in the ’50s and ’60s. I have found very little information about this place. I cannot even figure out which corner housed the restaurant.



3. King Oscar’s Smorgasbord

King Oscar’s was located at 4300 Aurora Ave N. Known for their Swedish-style Smorgasbord and Swedish pancakes.The Swedish pancakes were served king’s style, filled with a rich cream sauce, chicken, and mushrooms, all served from a chafing dish at the table. The Fjord Room, located upstairs, featured entertainment in a room with Scandinavian decor. The Fjord Room featured  a cocktail “The Voyager” which was served in a bowl like drinking glass for two people. Inside the bowl, floating in the drink, were a couple of little Viking ships. The restaurant opened in the mid-1950s and closed sometime in the late 1970s.



4. Copper Kitchen Restaurant

The Copper Kitchen was located at 1641 Westlake. Started by Scotty Watts, owner of the Peppermill and the Dutch Oven restaurants in Seattle, The Copper Kitchen specialized in home-style food at a reasonable price. This type of restaurant seemed to exist in every town in the United States in the 60s and 70s. Close your eyes and you can picture the decor and smell the stale cigarette smoke and soup lingering in the air. You see the waitresses decked out in gold or avocado green. I can’t find much information about when it opened and closed. The Westlake Center is now located at the site of the restaurant.


5. Hattie’s Hat Restaurant and Aunt Harriet’s Room

Hattie’s Hat, a Ballard/Seattle institution, originally opened in 1904 and it still going in 2016. The restaurant contains a wide variety of food, including veggie and vegan friendly options. The drinks are strong and the food is good. I am guess this matchbook dates to the 1960s before the all-numeric seven digit phone numbers were instituted.



6. Gino’s American Italian Restaurant

Gino’s was located at 620 Union St. in Seattle. This one is tough. There are and have been several Italian restaurants and bistros with Gino’s in the name. I cannot tell if they’re affiliated with this place or if it is just a common Italian name. This matchbook dates to probably the early to mid 1950s.

If you have any information on this place, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. My address is the site name at All one word.