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Summary for 5233 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2550 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Sankey & Grub Dry Goods Store Common Name:
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1893


Constructed in 1893 this distinctive one-story building is one of the oldest, most intact and architecturally important historic 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 the initial era of industrial and commercial development of Ballard (1888-1900). The establishment of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad service to and from Seattle proper in 1888, which occurred in conjunction with the platting and promotion of Gilman Park by the West Coast Improvement Company, triggered the initial era of industrial development along Salmon Bay and commercial development along the adjacent Ballard Avenue. The first successful industrial lumber mill began operation in 1888 with others rapidly established thereafter. After the great fire of June 1889, which destroyed virtually all of the commercial buildings and industrial facilities in Seattle, these mills prospered by supplying the lumber and wood products required for the massive reconstruction efforts.

In 1890 Gilman Park was formally incorporated as the municipality of Ballard and boasted a population of 1,636 residents living in the general vicinity. By 1895 Ballard was home to a large Scandinavian fishing fleet and included a concentration of shingle and lumber mills employing some 570 men. The community grew rapidly as passenger rail and private streetcar service expanded in the 1890s. By the late 1890s Ballard Avenue was lined with a distinct collection of wood-frame commercial buildings, workingmen’s hotels and lodgings and single family residences as well as several masonry and stone commercial buildings, including the subject property, the highly distinctive Cors & Wegener Block (1893), the Chopard Block (1894) and the City Hall (1899, demolished).


Percy Sankey initially established a dry goods business elsewhere along Ballard Avenue in 1891. He is believed to have had this building constructed in 1893 where he then operated Sankey & Grub Dry Goods in partnership with Alexander Grub for some twenty years. In 1915, when his wife (Mabel Sankey) joined the enterprise began to specialize in men’s furnishings. The store clothing remained in operation until the late 1920s. The building appears to have been acquired by Florence Lindaver in 1930 and was known as the J & H Tavern by 1937. During the 1940s it became known as the Silver Spot Tavern, which operated here for several decades. During this period (c.1957) a lean-to addition was made to the rear elevation and modern era alterations were made to the storefront (mezzanine lights were covered and ornate doors removed/replaced). The property was in the ownership of the C.D. Stimson 1969.

Information Sources:

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

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

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

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 -


Intact original one story, one-part commercial block façade composition with modern rear addition. Heavy timber and masonry structure with wood-frame rear addition. Rectangular footprint. Brick masonry cladding painted black at facade. Principal storefront bay and narrow separate entrance bay at façade. Intact original masonry piers, simple corbelled cornice and storefront composition. Original/historic (1937) storefront exhibited a cut-away central entry with a set of store doors and angled sidelights, a very low decorated bulkhead, large display windows and multi-pane transom and mezzanine lights. Storefront has been renovated; the bulkhead, mezzanine and display windows appear to be original or carefully reconstructed. Entry doors are not original historic building fabric. Minor sheet metal elements have been added to the top of the storefront opening. The narrow entrance bay at NW end of façade is also intact with transom light. Building underwent major renovation/façade restoration since designation and was expanded with a modern rear addition/adapted for restaurant purposes since designation.

Detail for 5233 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2550 / Inv # 0

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

Photo collection for 5233 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2550 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Oct 05, 2015

Photo taken Oct 05, 2015

Photo taken Nov 03, 2015
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