Whitaker and Ray block

Local entrepreneurs, Andrew Whitaker and Don Ray, opened their first store in a wooden building built by John McFarland on the present site of the Brewster Building in 1869. Between farming cash crops, operating the general store and dealing in land speculation, Whitaker and Ray made enough money to build these two buildings that took up a city block on Fourth Street between C and D streets in 1870.  One side was the Galt Hotel and the other housed a couple of small stores, a real estate office and a soda fountain. Upstairs contained doctor offices and a meeting hall. In 1899, Whitaker and Ray opened the largest department store on the West Coast. Departments included jewelry, clothing, crockery and glassware, drugs, furniture, hardware, and even an undertaking department.