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Summary for 5200 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2975 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Junction Block [DeCurtin/Lombardini Block] Common Name:
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1903/1920


Originally constructed in 1903-1904 for William DeCurtin and while historically altered the Junction Block [aka DeCurtin Block/Lomardino Block] is among the oldest and most historically significant buildings 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 a crucial era in the commercial and industrial development of Ballard (1900-1907) when the commercial district along Ballard Avenue was fully established and a significant number of permanent buildings were constructed. By the early 1900s Ballard became known as the “Shingle Capital of the World” with approximately twenty lumber and shingle mills in full operation. In addition to the mill operations the industrialized shoreline included iron foundries, machine shops, paint manufactures, shipyards, pipe making plants and boiler works. Substantial commercial buildings were constructed along Ballard Avenue as the local population grew to over 10,000 residents (including 3,400+ school age children) by 1904. During this era Ballard Avenue functioned as a full service commercial street populated by numerous boarding houses, hotels and lodging houses, clothing merchants, banks, hardware dealers, druggists, dry good stores, laundry businesses, meat markets, restaurants, theaters and saloons. Gradually, the earliest wood-frame structures were replaced by more permanent – often architect designed – commercial buildings.  Among the distinctive masonry and stone buildings that date from this era and most of which continue to characterize the streetscape are the G.B. Sanborn Block (1901, Portland Building (1901), Felt Block/Jones Building (1901, demolished), St. Charles Hotel (1902), Deep Sea Fisherman’s Building (1902), Scandinavian American Bank (1902), Matthes Block (1903), Kelsey Block (1903), Junction/Lombardini Block (1904), Kutzner Block (1904), Barthelemy Bros. Hardware Building (c.1904), Ernst Brothers Hardware Building (1904, demolished), A.L. Palmer Building (1905), Theisen Block (1905), Ballard Hardware Supply (1905), Peterson Hardware Co. (c.1905), Markussen Building (1905), and the Enquist Block (1906). In late 1906 Ballard residents approved annexation and the town became part of the City of Seattle on January 1, 1907. The boom era of major commercial construction began to lessen after the annexation.



[aka 5200-5208 Ballard Avenue]  The Seattle Times reported on September 12, 1902 (pg. 5) “Big Office Building at Ballard” noting that it was being built for William DeCurtin on a lot at the corner of Ballard Avenue and 2nd Ave.(now known as 22nd Ave. NW) and near the Wm. M. Curtis hardware store. The article noted that the three-story building would cost $30,000, include a “first class” theater on the third floor, offices on the second floor and stores at the ground floor level.  The article stated that ”when completed (it) will be the handsomest and most imposing block in Ballard” and identified T.G. Bird as the architect and reported that C.S. Carkeek was the contractor and W.H. Lord would undertake the excavation and masonry work. The 1900 US Census identified a William DeCurtin as a saloon keeper who was Swiss born and immigrated to the US in 1890 and was residing in Pottawattamie, Iowa. The Seattle Times reported on March 16, 1903 (pg. 4) that the construction project was near completion and the building would be ready for occupancy as of April 1st. Identified as the “DeCurtin Block”, the article stated that A.L. MacDonald had leased the building and would occupy the corner shop and second floor rooms. The third floor theater was described as having a fine stage and dressing rooms and a high quality dance floor. The original address for the building was 210-212 Ballard Avenue. The Junction Saloon was located at 210 Ballard Avenue and two street car lines joined/crossed at the adjacent intersection; thus the building acquired the common name “Junction Block”. The upper floor level theater space was initially known as McDonald’s Hall.

It is entirely unclear how long Mr. DeCurtin retained ownership of the building, as a Seattle Times article dated November 15, 1904 (pg.2) referred to the building as the “Lombardino Block” and noted that the Junction Saloon was being sold at a sheriff’s auction. The building appears to have been purchased by Stephano Raggio and Aton Lombardino in 1904. Both men owned their own saloons in Issaquah, Seattle and Georgetown. Interestingly, the architect credited with the design – Thomas G. Bird was listed in the 1904 Ballard City Directory with offices at “20 DeCurtin Block, Ballard”. Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees also appears to have had an office in the “Lombardini Block - #6”  as of the 1905 Ballard City Directory.  Bird and Voorhees are believed to have practiced for a brief period together; early in Voorhees’ career and late in Bird’s career. An article appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 8-14-1904 (pg.12, col.1) that noted Fisher, Voorhees and T.G. Bird “have taken up rooms together in the McDonald Block at 2nd and Ballard” - the McDonald Block appears to be a reference to McDonald’s Hall – which was located in the DeCurtin/Junction Block in 1904. It is not known if Voorhees played any role in the design of the DeCurtin/Lombardini Block; however, Voorhees was responsible for the design of numerous buildings that were subsequently built along Ballard Avenue and clearly had ties to the business community there. Thomas G. Bird is known to have practiced in Seattle from 1889 until at least 1907, in initially in partnership with George W. Dornbach and later on his own. He also designed the Bertoldi Block in Georgetown in 1904. V.W. Voorhees (1876-1970) began his long Seattle career in Ballard c.1904 and is credited with the design of hundreds of industrial commercial and residential buildings over the following three decades. He may be best known for the house plan book “Western Home Builder” that was initially published in 1907, as well as numerous extant commercial properties.

By 1910 the Crystal Theater was operating on the third floor where moving pictures were shown and live performances took place. By 1915, the former theater space was known as Junction Hall and primarily functioned as a dance and meeting hall. The second floor level housed various professional offices for doctors, lawyers and dentists as well as some residents. After prohibition the prominent corner retail space housed a bank. The building was seriously damaged by what may have been an arson fire that occurred on the evening of March 2, 1920. The Seattle Times (March 3, 1920, pg.1) reported that the fire appeared to have been set in the unused former dance hall on the third floor. The buildings was then owned by Capt. Thomas Weiler, a marine captain and the second floor was primarily used for “light housekeeping quarters” – housing five families and two bachelors, who all survived the nighttime fire. The roof was burned off and the floor level badly damaged. There was water damage to storefront level where tinsmith (operated by Otto Wendland) and a men’s furnishings (hats and clothing) shop (proprietor Samuel Marcus) and a second hand shop (proprietor R.M. Taylor) had businesses. As a result, most of the third floor level with its corner balcony and dramatic crenelated turret was removed. By 1925, the remaining upper floor functioned as the Junction Apartments and included eleven apartment units that shared bathing facilities.



Pheasant-Albright, Julie D. Early Ballard (Images of America), Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

----------. Passport to Ballard, Ballard News Tribune, 1988.

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, 1905, 1912.

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


Two story, two-part commercial block façade composition. Triangular footprint with apex at Ballard Avenue and 20th Avenue NW. Portion of third floor level at northernmost bays both elevations partly intact.  Historically altered due to fire damage in 1920. Original third floor level with balcony and crenelated turret removed. Masonry structure with concrete foundation. Variegated red brick masonry cladding – portions painted red. Five storefront/structural bays (accentuated by strip pilasters) oriented to both Ballard Avenue and 20th Avenue NW. Original storefront at apex includes distinctive curved entry vestibule with .cast iron columns. Original arched openings at central bays of both elevations provide entry/stair passage access to second floor level.  Current storefronts partly intact but appear to have been partially rebuilt based on original configuration/historic building fabric. Two generally intact original storefronts located at 20th Avenue NW elevation – north bays. Intact stone sills/plinths and carved stone details at pilasters. Intact intermediate cornice/watertable. No terminal cornice. Metal coping at roof edge. Second floor exhibits distinctive segmental arched fenestration with individual double-hung windows surmounted by brick voussoirs. Building exterior underwent renovation and restoration work after designation. 

Detail for 5200 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2975 / 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: Triangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 5200 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2975 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 01, 2015

Photo taken Oct 05, 2015

Photo taken Nov 01, 2015

Photo taken Nov 01, 2015

Photo taken Oct 05, 2015
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