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Summary for 5305 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2535 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Peterson Hardware Co. Common Name: Bastille
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1927


Constructed 1927 for Frederick W. Fisher by contractor Gardner Gwinn, the Peterson Hardware Co. Building contributes to the architectural and historic character of 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.


City of Seattle permit records indicate that is building was constructed in 1927 for owner F. V. Fisher by contractor Gardner Gwinn at a cost of $5,000.  Permit # 268055 issued May 31, 1927 does not identify an architect; the building may have been a standardized plan, or it may have been designed by Gwinn.  Frederick V. Fisher was a partner in the Worthington, Fisher Company, a local securities and mortgage firm with offices in the Hoge Building. Fisher also had Gardner Gwinn construct a very similar building at 5319 Ballard Avenue NW the same year.

The first identified tenant was the Peterson Wholesale Hardware Company, part of the Peterson Hardware and Plumbing Company, which owned the adjacent building to the north.  This company appears to have used this property by at least 1935 (and post 1937 tax records indicate that they purchased it at some unidentified date).  In 1935 a storage shed for pipes was constructed at the rear elevation of the building.  It extended 32 feet to the rear property line and was approximately the same width as the original building (47 feet).  It had a corrugated iron roof, no interior finishes and an earthen floor.  The south façade had a pair of glazed garage doors and six double-hung windows on two levels.  The improvement was designed by architect John E. Kelly., Jr. for Fisher, who still owned the building. Peterson Hardware continued to use this building until approximately 1945, when the company moved to Shilshole Avenue NW.  In 1945 the building was altered for use by Ballard Auto Sales, which appears to have been a brief tenant. In the following years, there were several tenants (including the U.S. War Price and Rationing Board and a diesel engine dealer; however, the building appears to have been at largely vacant. In 1955 it was purchased by Obermaier Machine Works, which continued to conduct business here for over fifty years. One separate space (perhaps the rear building) was also occupied by a series of separate businesses for many years:  Gem Welding (1967), Ballard Avenue Welding and Repair and Alaska Marine Fabricators (1985); Salmon Bay Welding (1989-96) and Northwest Freight and Marine Salvage (1989). [Additional Source: Report prepared by Mimi Sheridan]



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.)

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 -


[aka 5307-5311 Ballard Avenue NW]   One story. One-part commercial block façade composition. Rectangular footprint. Three structural bays and storefronts. Brick masonry structure. Wire-cut brick veneer cladding at façade with inlaid tile. Brick cladding has been painted. Central slightly stepped parapet above central storefront bay. The storefronts have been partly modernized and altered. Transom lights, large display windows and low bulkheads in place. Central bay includes recessed entryway; outer bays have had entryways removed.

[Source: Mimi Sheridan report] This building is located on a mid-block lot facing generally east toward Ballard Avenue NW.  It is flanked by a similar one-story building on the north and a driveway on the south. What appears to be a single one-story building is actually two buildings.  The original brick masonry building is sixty feet deep, with fifty feet of frontage on Ballard Avenue, for a total of 3,000 square feet.  The façade has three bays with large display windows with metal sash.  Above these are transom windows with narrow vertical lights.  Flanking the bays are pilasters that extend several inches above the straight parapet.  The bulkhead below the windows is clad with black ceramic tile; the tile is also used at the base of each pilaster.  The entry is in the center bay, with a pair of new glazed doors of unpainted wood.

The brick on the main (east) façade is painted a cream color, with black accents. Above the transoms is a row of soldier bricks, painted black.  At regular intervals above each bay are two decorative tiles with a sailing ship pattern.  The same ornamentation, with black-painted bricks and decorative tiles, is used on the pilasters. Photos show that some kind of accent tile was used originally, but these appear to be new tiles. The south elevation is clad with stucco.  The wall has been opened up with new fixed windows with wood sash and a glazed door providing access to a new concrete patio on what was previously a vacant lot.  The patio is sheltered by a shed roof of obscure glass, supported by steel I-beams, and is bordered by wood planter boxes and decorative metal grillwork. A metal railing is visible on part of the roof, where there is a roof-top vegetable garden.

A second building, adjoining the principal building at the rear, measures 32 by 47 feet, and extends to the rear property line.  It was originally an unfinished storage shed that has been rebuilt.  It is clad with newer vertical board siding, with a pair of very tall multi-light doors at the southwest corner and two newer windows with wood sash. The rear elevation has the same cladding.  A newer concrete block foundation is visible at the rear. The interior of the subject building has been completely remodeled into a restaurant.

Detail for 5305 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2535 / 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: one
Unit Theme(s):
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 5305 BALLARD AVE / Parcel ID 276770-2535 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Oct 06, 2015
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