Established in 2000, DS Watkins Gallery has earned a reputation for exhibiting contemporary works in a variety of mediums; and is located in historic downtown Kennewick’s oldest brick building. The Gallery is open on the first Thursday of each month for ArtWalk from 3:00 – 8:00 PM or by appointment for group or individual viewings.
Located in Historic Downtown Kennewick's Oldest Brick Building
Kennewick’s oldest brick building was the Stag Saloon, built for Margaret Rankin and NR Sylvester in 1906 for $8000. Harry Roseman, (Margaret Rankin’s brother) was proprietor of the Stag Saloon and “ran the best kept bar in Kennewick, serving fancy wine, liquors, Sunnybrook Whiskey and cigars” stated an ad in the Kennewick Reporter on January 8, 1908. Sitting adjacent to the railroad tracks, along with the other hotels and restaurants – now all long gone – The Stag greeted many a newcomer to Kennewick. Speculation runs rampant that a bordello ran upstairs, but the brick walls are silent and those who really know are also long gone.
When prohibition came to Washington State in 1914, the saloon was no more and the upstairs was converted to five small boarding rooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Tony ran a blacksmith shop in the former saloon, and it’s told he sold bootleg too. The ghost sign of this business remains outside on the east wall.
The downstairs changed as the lubrication of choice in the 1940’s became oil at the Corner Garage, rather than a beer at the Stag. A large metal garage door was installed on the north facade, replacing the 10’ windows and corner recessed entry. This facade lasted through owners such as Harding Glass in the 1950’s, Central Music in the 1960’s and Perfection Glass in 1976. Riverside Interiors was here in 1980, and in 1983, Larry’s Pawnshop. Classic Upholstery moved here in 1986, then Comm-Tech in the early ’90’s. Men’s Stuff was in business in 1995 when Deborah and David Watkins bought this building and began renovation. After a black and white photograph was finally located, they returned the face of the building to its original configuration. DS Watkins Gallery & Coffeehouse opened for business in 2000 on the main floor, and the upstairs was converted from two one-bedroom apartments into a spacious, light filled, open loft home.
Today David and Deborah reside upstairs, as they continue to honor this unique historic space as the DS Watkins Gallery.