WSU Culture and Heritage Houses

Office of the Provost

The Houses

Complete History of the Culture and Heritage Houses Programs and Facilities 

Overview 

In 2005, Washington State University began to acquire and renovate historic homes located in the College Hill section of Pullman.  These structures, built in the 1920s and 30s, were once the homes of university faculty and staff.  After renovations, the University converted four of the houses into cultural centers. 

Staff of Cultural Houses

antique hall light

Event at cultural house

History of Programs 

Talmadge Anderson Heritage House 

The Talmadge Anderson Heritage House is located in the historic Johnson House (935 NE B Street) on the Pullman campus.  The Johnson House was initially owned by Professor Claudius O. Johnson.  WSU purchased the building in 2005 and moved the Talmadge Anderson Heritage House program into the space the following year. 

Although the other Culture and Heritage Houses were established after 2005, the Talmadge Anderson Heritage Houses has a long history at WSU.  Originally called the Heritage House, the program was established in 1975 as one of the earliest diversity efforts on the WSU/Pullman campus.  It was also one of the first Black cultural centers in the United States.  

The Heritage House was created to facilitate the cultural and educational enrichment of students, faculty and staff at Washington State University.  As a community space open to all, patrons found books, artwork, films, and other cultural items that encouraged learning, research, and relationship building. 

Due to the leadership of Professor Talmadge Anderson, the Heritage House was closely tied to WSU’s Black Studies and Ethnic Studies programs, and The Western Journal of Black Studies.  On September 20, 1996, the Heritage House was renamed the Talmadge Anderson Heritage House in honor of its founder. 

Currently, the Talmadge Anderson Heritage House provides many amenities for the university community and community at large: gathering spaces, a fully equipped kitchen, and beautiful African/African-American artwork.  The lower level features a multimedia room for presentations and workshops.  The facility serves as the administrative hub of the Culture and Heritage Houses, and provides office and training space for the Diversity Education Program.  Like the other Culture and Heritage Houses, the Talmadge Anderson Heritage House is open to all. 

Past events at the Talmadge Anderson Heritage House

  • Freedom School, Culture and Heritage Houses/Diversity Education
  • Research Symposium, McNair Program
  • Soul Food Sunday, Black Student Union
  • Welcome potluck, Black Graduate Student Association
  • Group meeting, African American Faculty and Staff Association 

 

Casa Latina 

Casa Latina, the second Culture and Heritage House, was established in 2006.  At 955 NE B Street, it is located in a historic house in the College Hill area of Pullman.  The facility features Chicano/Latino books, art, cultural items, and a comfortable atmosphere for events and gatherings.  Casa Latina has a full kitchen, meeting tables, and overnight accommodations for university guests.  The House also provides office space for the Diversity Education Program.  Like the other Culture and Heritage Houses, Casa Latina is open to all. 

Past events at Casa Latina

  • Commemoration, Dia de los Muertos
  • Guest stay, Semana de la Raza
  • Fall potluck, Chicano Latino Faculty and Staff Association
  • Staff retreat, College Assistance Migrant Program 

 

Native American Cultural House 

The Native American Cultural House is located in the historic Culver House (975 NE B Street) on the Pullman campus.  The Culver House was first purchased by Professor Harold Culver in 1927.  WSU purchased the building in 2006. 

In 2007, Native American Cultural House opened as the third Culture and Heritage House.  The facility features Native American books, art, cultural items, and a comfortable atmosphere for events and gatherings.  The facility also includes a full kitchen, meeting tables, and overnight accommodations for university guests.  Like the other Culture and Heritage Houses, Native American Cultural House is open to all. 

Past events at the Native American Cultural House

  • Staff retreat, WSU Tribal Liaison
  • Guest stay, Na-ha-shnee Native Health Institute
  • Talking Circle, Native American Women’s Association
  • Study tables, Native American Student Center
  • Drum Practice, Wazzu Singers
  • Ribbon Cutting event, Pullman Historic District 

 

Asian Pacific American Cultural House 

In 2011, the Asian Pacific American Cultural House was established as the fourth Culture and Heritage House.  It is located at 905 NE C Street in the historic Friel House.  First purchased by WSU 2005, the facility was initially operated by the WSU School of Music.  Music students lived in the house and used its Steinway mini-grant piano for informal recitals. 

Now, as the Asian Pacific American Cultural House, the facility features Asian/Pacific American books, art, cultural items, and a comfortable atmosphere for events and gatherings.  The facility includes a full kitchen, meeting tables, and overnight accommodations for university guests.  Like the other Culture and Heritage Houses, the Asian Pacific American Cultural House is open to all. 

Past events at the Asian Pacific American Cultural House

  • Student Mentors Thanksgiving Feast, Asian American Pacific Islander Student Center
  • Holiday social, International Programs
  • Pumpkin Carving, First Scholars Program
  • Staff retreat, Student Involvement  

History of Facilities 

935 NE B Street, The Johnson House 

The Talmadge Anderson Heritage House is now located in the historic “Johnson House.”  Claudius O. and Mary W. Johnson owned and lived in the house from 1933 to 1956.  The structure, built circa 1933, is in the Tudor Revival style design.  Claudius O. Johnson began his career at Washington State College (WSC) in 1928 as the first full-time professor and chair of the newly formed department of History and Political Science.  Johnson Tower, which currently houses the Political Science Department at Washington State University, is named in his honor.  He retired from the WSC faculty in 1960.  Louis L. and Edith L. Madsen purchased the house from the Johnsons in 1955 and lived there until 1973.  Louis Madsen was the Dean of the college of Agriculture at WSU from 1955 to 1973, when he retired as Dean Emeritus.  WSU purchased the house as a part of the College Hill revitalization project in 2006.  The “Johnson House” is registered on the Washington State Historical Registry. 

955 NE B Street 

Casa Latina is currently located in the historic house at 955 NE B Street.  In 1927, the house was built by William C. Kruegel, land developer and Chief Accountant of Washington State College.  In 1928, Kruegel sold the house to B.L. Steele, professor and head of the Physics Department from 1910 until his death in 1931.  His wife Vesta kept the house until 1943, when she sold it to G. Brooks King.  King sold the house to Stanton J. Linden in 1974, and the Lindens owned it until 2000 when it was sold to Edward J. Knell and Annie M. Retamal.  Washington State University purchased the building in 2005.  The building is registered on the Washington State Historical Registry. 

975 NE B Street, Culver House 

The Native American Cultural House is currently located in the historic Culver House.  The history of the Culver House began in May of 1927, when Harold and Helen Culver bought part of lot 3 of McGee’s Subdivision from W.C. Kruegel, local land developer and Chief Accountant of Washington State College.  A 1928 Sanborn map indicates that the house was there in 1928, so it is presumed that the house was built in 1927 by the Culvers.  Harold Culver received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Chicago in 1923.  In 1925 he was hired by Washington State College to serve as the head of the Geology Department, and he remained in the position until 1947. From 1945 to 1946, he also served briefly as the acting dean of the School of Mineral Industry and as the acting head of the Department of Mining.  He retired in 1950. 

Helen Culver earned a degree in art from Columbia University and previously taught at the University of Washington, where she helped establish the art department.  She passed away in 1955.  After her death, Mr. Culver married British schoolteacher Joan Margaret (Currey) Culver in 1960.  Mr. Culver passed away in 1970 and Joan Culver lived in the house until around 2000.  WSU purchased the house in 2006.  Joan Culver passed away in 2010. 

The “Culver House” is registered on the Washington State Historical Registry. 

905 NE C Street, Friel House 

The Asian Pacific American Cultural House is currently located in the historic Friel House (905 C Street).  Jack and Catherine Friel lived in the house for 54 years, and after their passing their family agreed to sell the house to Washington State University.  John Bryan “Jack” Friel and Catherine Mathews Friel both lived long accomplished lives.  From 1928 to 1957, Jack Friel won 495 basketball games and five Coast Conference divisional titles as the coach of the Cougar men’s team, and the basketball court in Beasley Coliseum is named in his honor.  Catherine Friel was an English Teacher at Pullman High School and earned a Master’s Degree in English at the age of 58.  Mrs. Friel also led the effort to save WSU’s Stevens Hall from demolition.  They were married for close to seventy years. In 1995, Jack died at age 97. Catherine died in 2003 at age 102. 

WSU purchased the house in 2005 and invested $400,000 into the purchase and renovation.  The “Friel House” is registered on the Washington State Historical Registry. 

Timeline

  • Sept 2004 – The Office of the Vice President for Equity and Diversity was created
  • 2005 – WSU purchases houses on College Hill
  • 2006 – Talmadge Anderson Heritage House is reopened in the Johnson House, and Casa Latina opens
  • 2007 – Native American Cultural House opens
  • 2011 – Asian Pacific American Cultural House opened (previously, the Friel House was operated by the School of Music) 

Compiled and written by: Marc A. Robinson, director, July 29, 2013