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Summary for 5006 20TH AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3170 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Anchor Cafe Common Name:
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1893


Constructed in c.1893 this modest building is immediately adjacent to the Cors & Wagener Block, one of the oldest, most intact and architecturally distinctive 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 substantial masonry and stone commercial buildings, including the Cors & Wegener Block (1893), Chopard Block (1894) and the City Hall (1899, demolished).


Given its reported construction date and ownership history, this building appears to have been constructed c.1893 in conjunction with the Cors & Wegener Block for William Cors and Robert E. Wegener. The property appears to have remained in the ownership of R.E. Wegener for several decades; however, its earliest use or tenants have not been identified. Historic tax records indicate that it housed the Anchor Café in 1937 and was vacant for several years. City Directories indicate that Mrs. Selma Knutsen operated a café or lunchroom here c.1940-45.


Information Sources:

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 -


Original one story, one-part commercial block façade composition with modern second story addition. Original concrete foundation and masonry structure with wood-frame second story addition. Trapezoidal footprint. Variegated red brick masonry cladding. Original masonry piers with decorated caps remain in place at façade. Original/historic (1937) storefront exhibited a central entry door with sidelights, a low decorated bulkhead and multi-pane mezzanine lights. Storefront has been reconstructed; bulkhead, mezzanine and display windows and doors are not original historic building fabric. Sheet metal cornice at original roofline appears to be historic building fabric or in-kind replacement. Portions of intact original north masonry wall remain visible. Building underwent renovation after designation; building was expanded and adapted for artist studio/housing in 1999.

Detail for 5006 20TH AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3170 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Other
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s):
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 5006 20TH AVE / Parcel ID 276770-3170 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 04, 2015

Photo taken Sep 30, 2015
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