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Summary for 6554 20th AVE / Parcel ID 7518503815 / Inv #

Historic Name: Bowman House Common Name: Bowman House
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1893
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The main portion of the Bowman House was constructed in 1893 with a major addition constructed about 1899. Finnish born Emil L. Bowman (b. ca 1866), in early 1889, two years after he immigrated to the United States, settled in Ballard. Just a few months after he got a job to wait tabes at Marley and Rand chop house, his job literally went up in flames. On June 6, 1889 the Great Seattle Fire turned the restaurant located at the southwest corner of Commercial Street (1st Ave S) and Jackson Street into ashes. There were plenty of available jobs in booming post fire Seattle and Bowman did not stay unemployed long. Like many late 19th century workingmen, Bowman moved in and out of town and worked at a number of different jobs including laborer, logger, and sawmill hand. By 1893, Emil Bowman and newlywed wife Olga (b. ca 1860), also from Finland, were living in a small cabin in Ballard at the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue W (renamed 20th Avenue NW) and Brig Street (renamed NW 67th St). By 1899 the Bowman’s probably did a major expansion and remodel to the cabin (the one story rear ‘addition’ to the house is likely the original cabin). According to the King County Assessment Rolls, the enlarged house was built sometime between spring 1896 and spring 1900. Bowman knew the carpenter’s trade so he likely built the house. After they settled into the expanded house, Bowman worked various jobs including a mill hand at the Stimson sawmill, a grocer for a year, a fisherman for a half dozen years, and then a dockworker. At the time Bowman remodeled the house the nearest street car was the West Street and North End line that terminated about ¾ of a mile away at 22nd Ave NW and Ballard Avenue. By 1905 the line extended to 24th Ave NW and NW 64th Street cutting the walk to the trolley line in half. While they lived in the house, the Bowmans raised three daughters. Unknown what became of his first wife, Olga, but by the late 1920s Emil Bowman was married to Anna. The Bowmans still resided there in the early 1950s having occupied the same corner of Ballard for nearly 60 years. Later occupants. In 1961 William A. Clark, a purchasing agent for Mullin Construction, and his wife Bernice Clark lived in the house. In 1979 the Seattle Historic Resources Survey inventoried the house. Variant addresses: Prior to 1905 the address was 1546 2nd Avenue, Ballard; from 1905 until Ballard was annexed to Seattle in 1907 the address was 142 2nd Ave. N. The residence appears to meet City of Seattle Landmark criteria due to the age of the structure (over 100 years old) and minimal alterations.
The vernacular Bowman House was built in two stages; the one story rear (east portion) was built about 1893 and the one and a half story main section (west portion) was constructed about 1899. According to the 1905 Sanborn map, the original 1893 one story cabin measured about 17 x 12 feet. In 1905 it had a wrap around four foot wide porch that has since been enclosed. The main west addition measures about 25 x 21 feet. The west elevation has a three sided bay window on the first floor. Turned columns support a flat porch roof that extends over the bay window. Fishscale shingles at gable end of west elevation. The south elevation has a gable wall dormer and a three sided bay window. Double hung windows throughout.

Detail for 6554 20th AVE / Parcel ID 7518503815 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Block
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
City of Seattle. Seattle Inventory Field Form. 1979.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1904-1905) 4 volumes.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1916-1919) volumes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Seattle, Washington. (New York, Sanborn Map Company, 1949-1950 update) 11 volumes.

Photo collection for 6554 20th AVE / Parcel ID 7518503815 / Inv #

Photo taken Nov 23, 2004
App v2.0.1.0