#1 N. E. Front Street
Coupeville, Washington

Haller House

1859 - The initial house was built for Raphael Brunn on 2 1/8 acres that Thomas Coupe sold to Fowler & Co.

1860 - Fowler & Co sold interest to Isaac Jones. Land included the house, store, warehouse, wharf & other buildings.

1861 - Foreclosure on the property.

1866 - Colonel Granville Owen Haller purchased the property and added the front portion of the house to the Brunn house.

Haller House
1870 - Haller House
Presumably Col. Haller on the front steps.
Note the Brunn house attached at the rear.
From the paperback biography "Granville Haller: Leader" by Martin N. Chamberlain.

1879 - The Hallers left Coupeville to live in Seattle.

1879 - Daniel Pearson sold inventory of store to O.A. Dresser. Before this Henry Landis had run the store.

1887 - County Commissioners started the process of "removing obstruction" to widen Main Street. "obstruction" was Col. Granville Haller's store.

1889 - County road crew removed "obstruction" by slicing off the west side of the store. Mr. Gaston went bankrupt. According to "Recollections of Early Days on Whidby Island" by Flora Augusta Pearson Engle (2003), A.H. Ludington bought the structure and tore down the half of the store that was left standing when the road was widened.

Haller House
The Haller House on the right has a sign saying Campbell Hotel.
The building on the left is the Glenwood Hotel under construction.
Note the pile of rubble at the corner of Main and Front below the Haller House,
this may be the remains of the Pearson shop (Col. Haller's store)
The sternwheeler is the 'Fairhaven', a regular visitor to the Robertson Wharf.
The picture was probably taken in 1890.

1892 - Part of property sold to Ludington

1903 - Remaining property sold to Ira Todd who sold to G.F. Hesselgrave

1913 - Hesselgrave sold back to Todd who formed partnership with C.F. Coates for Whidbey Mercantile.

Haller House
The Haller house as seen on a 1914 Fire Map.
Note the bay window on the west side that is no longer there.
The store is labeled as 'Hardware & paints'.

1918 - R.M. Hastie bought the land where the store had been.

1922 - Hastie sold fixtures to George Wiley Hesselgrave

1926 - Hesselgrave bought store building for delinquent taxes and Hastie's bank contract. He converted it into a cinema called The Circuit. He set up movie equipment and ran the show house. He went to Seattle once a week to pick up a new film in his 7-seater Studebaker. He carried passengers and freight as well. Showings were typically every Wednesday and Thursday. The projector had too long a focal length for the building so a box was added to northern wall to house the projector. Reportedly, the electrical system was so weak that lights all over town dimmed while the movie was showing.

Haller House
The Circuit

Haller House
The Haller house as seen on a 1930 Fire Map.
Note the Hardware & Paints store has become a Movie House.
Also the 'D.G.' building between the Haller House and the Bank is now missing.

1939 - Hesselgrave leased out movie house.

1954 - The Hesselgrave heirs razed show house.

Haller House
Haller House from the north east
from the Historic American Buildings Survey collection

Haller House
Haller House from the south east.
Note the Mansard roof on the Glenwood Hotel (added in 1900)
from the Historic American Buildings Survey collection

Haller House
Haller House from the south.
A part of the cinema can be seen to the left.
from the Historic American Buildings Survey collection

Haller House
Haller House as seen from the Robertson Wharf.
A part of the cinema can be seen too.
Note that the house on the left and the Furniture Warehouse have since been demolished.
Bank is now a private residence.
The picture dates between 1914 and 1930 according to the Sanborn maps.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Carol Thrailkill

Judy: "Do you remember the Show House [The Circuit Theatre]?"

Carol: "Yes. I’d see scary movies but it closed down pretty early in my life. The Wilheight's house next door [originally built by Col. Haller in 1866 and now subject to restoration] was empty when we were growing up. It looked like it should be torn down. The doors were wide open so we’d go in and run around."

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Larry Zylstra

Judy: "What do you remember about Front Street?" Larry: "Across from his first office was the bank [#5 NE Front Street, on the southwest corner of Front and Center]. It had a couple of round posts in front of it. Next door was the Granville Haller/Daniel Pearson house. Next was the theater [Circuit Theatre cinema, now gone] and next was Elmer Calhoun’s [#1 NW Front Street, originally the Glenwood Hotel]. Then there was Tom Howell’s Barber Shop [#7 NW Front Street]. The funny thing was one of the first haircuts I got in Oak Harbor in 1959 was from Tom Howell. The beauty parlor next to his was Doris Hassler. Doris did hair in the beauty parlor. She was married to Skinny Hassler. The Hasslers were relatives of ours too. Skinny and Doris Hassler lived in the top part of the building next door. [Note: presumably at #5 NW Front Street, originally the Robertson House.] I babysat for their kids up there. There was a stairway on the side of the building that led to the upstairs. Skinny’s brother, Gil Hassler, bought Sorgenfrei Garage [#23 NW Front Street, originally the Cushen Ford Garage] from Al Sorgenfrei."

Judy: "Tell me about the Circuit Theater." Larry: "We could get in there for 10¢. The owner of the house to the east of the theater was Mr. White. He would give us 10¢ for bullhead. We’d go to the dock and catch bullheads and take them to him and he paid us 10¢."

Judy: "Did he eat them?"

Larry: "I think he fed them to the cat."

Haller House
1965 - Haller House
from Jimmie Jean Cook's book

Haller House
Haller House as seen from the air in 2006

2006 - McPhersons D L and JH bought the house from Willhight, Stanley V

Haller House
The Haller house Plan
From drawings by Claudia Kiyama, 2013

Haller House
Location of Haller House on Front Street

Historic Whidbey published a Historic Structures Report on the Haller House on June 10, 2014. It contains a history of the building and an analysis of its current condition with illustrations. For a copy (PDF format - 6 Mbytes) click on the image below:

October 31, 2018 - Historic Whidbey purchased the historic property at 1 NE Front Street in Coupeville from the McPhersons. A slow but steady transformation is taking place, returning the home to its former glory as a Whidbey landmark.

2019 - Roof Replaced.

2021 - Foundation Replaced.

Haller House
Haller House during foundation work
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick - Sept 2020

Haller House
Haller House
from Island County Appraisers office

More information about the ongoing reconstruction can be found on the Historic Whidbey website.

* All the interviews are extracted from the Judy Lynn's Oral History Project. Judy Lynn interviewed everyone she could find who had any memories of the history of Front Street. For more information on the project contact the Whidbey Island Historical Musem, Coupeville.

The e-book Front Street, Coupeville - An Oral History by Judy Lynn contains all the interviews. It can be purchased for $9.99 at Amazon.com for Kindle application or device or from the Apple Store for iBooks applications. Proceeds go to the Island County Historical Society.

Oral History Cover