The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Woody's Bar & Grill Holds Century Celebration

Contents of an 1890s era floor safe will be revealed


October 5, 2017

DAYTON-Visit Dayton's own version of "Cheers" on October 7 and finally see what is inside the pre-1890s era metal floor safe that has been in Kurt Campbell's possession since he discovered it in the basement of Woody's Bar & Grill 13 thirteen years ago.

Campbell's Century Celebration will take place on October 7, when the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. until closing at 1 a.m.

Campbell is featuring the art of Kim Bruzas and the soothing tones of Ordinary Men, along with the many eclectic items he has collected over the years, which are on display in the restaurant and lounge.

Campbell said he plans to offer his usual delicious lunch and dinner fare, along with every kind of beverage, including Jello Shots.

All of that sounds enticing, but the highlight will be the cracking of the 100 lb. metal safe at 8:45 p.m.

"I might bring in a locksmith to help with that," Campbell said.

Campbell said that shortly after purchasing the building and business in 2004, he was scrounging around to see what he had, when he noticed the safe, encased in concrete, in the floor of the basement.

Campbell pried the safe out, and it is now sitting on the back bar waiting for its contents to be revealed.

"When I roll it, you can hear something rattle in there," he said. "I'm hoping it is something from the era."

After the safe is opened, it will be placed on permanent display, he said.

Campbell views the Century Celebration as a rare opportunity for Dayton to be part of a business that has been in operation over 100 years.

Loundagin and Son occupied the building as a dry goods and furniture store in 1887. It was Burdett's Pool Hall in 1908, and it was the Sport Center from 1919 until 1993, when it became Crackerbees Restaurant, Campbell said.

Campbell graduated from Walla Walla University with an master's of arts in psychology, and worked in the mental health field in Walla Walla for 10 years prior to his 30-year career as a correction officer/lieutenant shift commander at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary .

"At 55 I was too young to retire," he said.

Campbell said he enjoyed the recreational aspects of the area, and after looking around, he decided to buy the Loundagin and Son building and business in Dayton.

Campbell named Woody's Bar & Grill after his father, Woodrow "Woody" Campbell.

Of special interest to Campbell is the back bar, which was built in the 1840s, and has survived the west coast gold rush in San Francisco, and in the Yukon, and which has been in the restaurant and lounge since 1917.

"The rumor is, there was a gentleman's club in Waitsburg, and it was there in 1915, and here in 1917," Campbell said.

The century-old plus building at 214 Main Street has changed hands several times throughout the years, and Campbell said he looks forward to sharing its history with a fifth generation of people, during his Century Celebration.


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