Reportedly constructed in 1903, this distinctive brick masonry is among the oldest, most intact and architecturally interesting 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 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 2215-2225 NW Market Street] Believed to have been constructed in 1903. Efforts to identify the original owner, builder or tenants of this historic property have been unsuccessful. According to historic 1905 insurance maps its original address was 346-350 Ballard Avenue and 217? Broadway. Trapezoidal in shape, it was designed initially to function with two storefront level shops oriented to Ballard Avenue and with lodging and/or office rooms at the second floor. By 1905 there were no other buildings between this building and the Ballard City Hall at the southeastern end of this half-block; the great majority of substantial masonry buildings were clustered further south along Ballard Avenue.
One of the earliest known tenants was John Gerke, proprietor of Gerkes Pharmacy that operated his pharmacy located nearby (2324 Market) in 1915. His was one of four drug stores on/near Ballard Avenue at that time. He appears to have used this building prior to 1928 when it was purchased by G. Henbart Co. and extensively remodeled to serve as Bartell Drugs Store #4, which relocated here (from 5344 Ballard Avenue). Bartell's had been previously located at 5345 Ballard Avenue beginning c.1910. The subject building appears to have been remodeled with an updated storefronts that exhibited low tile bulkheads and large display windows oriented toward Market Street and Ballard Avenue. Tax records from 1937 indicate that the upper floor included four apartments. Bartell’s operated here from 1929 until the late 1950s when they moved to their fourth Ballard site at 5605 22nd Ave NW. The building was modernized and remodeled in 1960, after which it functioned as a Gallenkamps shoe and clothing store on the lower level and housed a doctor’s office and employment agency on the second floor. Remodeling work (1960) altered 1928-29 storefronts with the installation of modern aluminum storefronts windows and doors and modern mosaic tile on Market Street façade and the Ballard Avenue storefront elevation was infilled with CMU and stucco, eliminating all window & door openings.
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, 1905, 1912.
Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1884-1951. Digital versions available via Seattle Public Library - www.spl.org.