||Arts & Crafts - Craftsman
Residential Ballard is generally described as extending from the 8th Avenue NW to the east and the bluff to the west, and from NW 85th Street on the north to NW 65th Street to the south. The area primarily contains single family houses, but also includes a collection of mutli-family dwellings, commercial buildings, schools, churches, and other buildings. Most of the historic buildings in Ballard are modest cottages and builder's houses, and were not architect-designed. Building styles include, but are not limited to, Victorian (primarily Queen Anne), vernacular, Craftsman, American Foursquare, Colonial Revival (including variations), Tudor Revival, Minimal Traditional, and Ranch. The historic building fabric of Ballard is threatened by a rapid pace of development.
The City of Ballard was incorporated in 1890. It was the first community to incorporate after Washington achieved statehood in 1889. Although population increased rapidly, north Ballard was still relatively rural. In 1907, primarily due to lack of adequate water for its population of 15,000, Ballard citizens voted to be annexed to Seattle to ensure a good water supply for the area.
After annexation Ballard’s street names were changed to conform to Seattle’s: Ship Street turned into 65th Street, Main Street became 15th Avenue. During the Great Depression and World War II, construction in Ballard nearly ground to a halt, with the exception of some houses built by Earl F. Mench. However, following World War II, fueled by the G.I. bill and the rise of the automobile, Ballard boomed again, and new housing followed. In recent years, the demand for new housing has spurred a tremendous amount of change in Ballard, with old, modest houses being replaced by large box houses and multi-family units. These changes threaten to alter the character and feeling of this historic neighborhood.
According to King County Assessor information this craftsman style house was built in
1924. No known architect. However, Seattle Side Sewer card information and Polk City
Directory indicate Charles W. Dane lived at the address in 1921. A pipe fitter/steamfitter
from Minnesota, Charles Dane and his wife Anna were the first residents and they
stayed five years until George W. Harlow bought the house in 1926. At the time, 15th
Ave W was just a gravel road. George Harlow moved in with his wife (also Anna) and
their three children Robert, Elise, and Charles. Prior to Seattle they lived in Idaho
where they tried farming but didn’t like the winters. They had chickens and the large
property came with a number of apple trees (gravensteins and yellow transparent) and
a few cherry trees (bing and black cherry). Elsie was known to go out her bedroom
window to sit in the tree branches.
In Seattle George Harlow became an agent for U.S. Customs inspecting Princess Line
passenger boats arriving in Seattle from Canada. From their Ballard home Charles
remembers his mother walking all the kids together to Golden Gardens for warm
weather outings. In middle and high school, during the depression, Charles shoveled
coal into gunny sacks for the fuel business across the street. He graduated from
Ballard High School in 1928 and went on to serve in the Navy during WWII. Older
brother Robert drove delivery trucks for the coal company across the street, then
became a trolley driver for the City of Seattle. Elsie attended Western Washington
College of Education in Bellingham to earn a teaching degree.
After George died in 1945 Anna Harlow continued to live in the house. In the mid-1950s
she worked as a saleswoman, first at Textile House and then at Powers Gifts in
Northgate. In 1994 Anna passed away; the house remains with the Harlow family,
going on 90 years. Today the Harlow family still owns the property, although the house
has been rented out for at the last decade or more.
Polk City Directories
Seattle City Permits
King County Department of Assessments
Puget Sound Regional Archives
Seattle Times (3/25/1938, 2/10/1953, 2/21/1960, 8/22/1983)
US Census 1920, 1930, 1940
Conversation with Charles Harlow (96 years old) 5/26/2016 and 5/29/2016
Ballard Historical Society Classic Home Tour guides.
Crowley, Walt. Seattle Neighborhoods: Ballard--Thumbnail History. HistoryLink File # 983, accessed 6/1/16.
King County Tax Assessor Records, 1937-2014.
McAlester, Virginia Savage.
A Field Guide to American Houses (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Alfred A> Knopf Press, 2013.
Oschsner, Jeffrey Karl
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle, WA: University of
Washington Press, 1994.
Passport to Ballard: The Centennial Story. Seattle, WA: Ballard News Tribune, 1988.
Constructed in 1924, this single story single-family Craftsman-style house is rectangular in plan, sits on a
concrete foundation, is clad with horizontal wood siding and wood shingles beneath the gable peaks,
and has an asphalt clad side-gabled roof with overhanging eaves, exposed rafters, knee braces, and
verge boards. The front façade includes an expansive projecting gabled entry vestibule and porch with
wood piers above brick pedestals, closed rail, and decorative dentillated trim. The symmetrically placed
front door is flanked by triads of 14-over-1 windows, and a small, rectangular 8-light fixed sash window
is placed beneath the gable peak. This house has been minimally altered, and still retains all aspects of