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Summary for 5144 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3165 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Club Tavern Common Name:
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1911


Constructed in 1911 the Club Tavern is an architecturally important and historically significant property within the Ballard Avenue Landmark District. The Ballard Avenue Landmark District encompasses a particularly well preserved section of one of several successful small towns that flourished around the perimeter of Seattle in the late nineteenth century and would be subsequently incorporated into the metropolis. Ballard Avenue is lined with an intact collection of modest scale commercial buildings that reflect the development of the community’s main commercial street between 1890 and 1930. The character of this distinctive historic streetscape was primarily preserved because it was by-passed by Post-War era development that instead occurred along modern arterials - Market Street and 15th Avenue, to the north and east. In 1976, the Ballard Avenue Landmark District was formally designated a local historic district by the City of Seattle and was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places (Ballard Avenue Historic District).

This historic property is directly associated with the post annexation era of commercial and industrial development (1908-1930) when after the annexation of Ballard to Seattle, substantial construction continued to occur along Ballard Avenue and it remained the commercial center of the community. However, commercial development occurred at a slower pace and was more concentrated near NW Market Street. Three distinctive reinforced concrete buildings were built early in this period; the Hyde & Fitzgerald Building (aka Eagles Building, 1908), the O’Donnell Hotel Building (1909) and the Ballard Savings & Loan Building (1914). Gradually new construction and business activity became much more concentrated near Market Street.

During this era Ballard, and Seattle as a whole, became more auto-oriented and associated businesses, including a Ford showroom, were established on Ballard Avenue. The streetscape changed significantly after 1916 when prohibition was instituted and long-established local saloons were converted to tobacco, candy, ice cream and soft drink businesses. The 5-year long construction and the completion of the nearby Hiram Chittenden Locks and the Lake Washington Ship Canal in 1916 also spurred major changes within the local community and increased industrial and commercial fishing activity. Prior to the construction of the locks, barges and ships could only dock at Salmon Bay during high tide, whereas after the construction the waterway remained at a much more constant lake level, which was conducive for shipping and product distribution purposes. The creation of the ship canal also required the construction of a new Ballard Bridge (1918) and spurred associated road improvement and paving projects. With traffic revisions and roadway improvements, Market Street (formerly Broadway Street) began to be developed as the principal commercial thoroughfare. In 1927-28, the completion of the massive Ballard Building established Market Street as the modern commercial center in Ballard. However, numerous distinctive commercial buildings continued to be built along Ballard Avenue up until the onset of the Depression era.


Tax records, historic real estate maps, historic photographs and permit records indicate that this building was constructed in 1911; however, its design is typical of earlier commercial buildings built on Ballard Avenue. A prior building on this site appears to have been owned by Louis Anderson, a long established Ballard bar owner and businessman. Permit records indicate that he made repairs and improvement to the prior two-story, wood-frame building that was on the site and which had reportedly operated as a saloon (The Club) since 1893. The new two-story brick masonry and concrete building was designed to fit in with the adjacent historic properties. It continued to be known as the Club Saloon; during prohibition it functioned as the Club Café and was still known by that name in 1937. By 1937, the storefront had been clad with an imitation log cabin motif. It was purchased by Agnes M. Houk in 1938 and became then known as the Club Tavern. The storefront was remodeled and rebuilt in 1984 in an effort to replicate the historic storefront.


Property Record Cards (1937-1972). Washington State Regional Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch, Bellevue, WA.

“Ballard Avenue Historic District” National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form (Prepared by Elisabeth Walton Potter, OAHP, April 1976.)

Ballard Historical Society, Ballard Avenue Landmark District Plaque Project records.

Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash. Philadelphia: W.G. Baist, 1912.

Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1884-1951. Digital versions available via Seattle Public Library -

Two stories. Two part commercial block façade. Brick masonry structure with partial concrete basement. Distinguished by variegated red/brown brick masonry cladding, brick structural piers with caps at edges of façade, broad corbelled brick cornice, four arched window openings at the second floor, Intact original arched double-hung windows, and intermediate brick cornice. The historic storefront was altered prior to 1937; it was remodeled and rebuilt in 1984 in an effort to replicate the original storefront configuration. No historic building fabric/features in place.

Detail for 5144 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3165 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 5144 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3165 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 01, 2015
App v2.0.1.0