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.
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.
The house at 7040 Mary Avenue NW is a well preserved example of a modest Craftsman-style house, typical of early housing in Ballard. Reportedly built in 1910, the house is one of three nearly identical houses built in a row on Mary Avenue between NW 70th and 73rd streets.
Although listed as having been built in 1910, the first known occupants of the house at 7040 Mary Avenue were the Bird family in 1923, followed by the Furgesons in 1926. By 1940, residents on Mary Avenue included a janitor, mail carrier, lathe operator, kitchen laborer, steelworker, salesman, and carpenter; from places as diverse as Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
R.F. Bird is listed as the owner of the property in a side sewer permit application March 22, 1923. Curiously, the house address does not appear in the 1928 Seattle City Directory, or 1920 and 1930 Federal Censuses. Oscar Grohn was the side sewer contractor for 7040 as well as 7043 Mary Avenue and numerous other houses in Ballard in the 1910s and 1920s.
At the time of the 1900 Federal Census, Raymond F. Bird (born 1880) was living in Champlin, Minnesota with his parents who were farmers. By 1910, Raymond, then 30 years old, was renting a house in Ballard at 7333 19th Avenue NW with his wife Bertha sons George and Virgil M., and working as a carpenter. In 1920 the family was living on a farm in Idaho with Bertha and their (by then five) children. Presumably the family moved back to Seattle by 1923 when Raymond made application for the sewer permit at 7040 Mary Avenue. The Bird family’s stay on Mary Avenue appears to have been short as a City of Seattle sewer card shows Mr. Bird as the owner of a property at 2021 NW 61st in 1926, and the 1930 Federal Census shows the family living at 8351 10th Avenue NW and running a chicken farm. By 1940, they had moved again, this time to 7319 15th Avenue NW, with Mr. Bird working again as a carpenter.
The next occupants of record are Harry George (born 1892) and Margaret Helen Furgeson (born 1878) who are listed in the Seattle Directories at 7040 Mary Avenue NW for the years 1926-1954. Harry was a carpenter from Winnepeg, Canada, who emigrated to Washington via Vancouver, British Columbia in 1922, heading for Tacoma where his uncle, Robert Earl, lived. Margaret was born in Newberry, South Carolina, and married Robert Earl in 1895 at age 17, living in Tacoma with him and their children Ruth, Hazel, and Charles. They apparently later divorced, as she and Harry married in 1926, the same year that he applied for citizenship. Shortly after their marriage, Harry and Margaret headed to Seattle and purchased the house at 7040 Mary Avenue. Longtime neighbors on either side of the Furgeson’s included the Whithams (William and Agnes) at 7036 Mary Avenue and the Mayers (George L. and Annie E.) at 7044 Mary Avenue. The Mayers resided at 7044 for many years and were apparently good enough friends of the Furgeson’s for Harry to list George as his contact person on his WWII draft card. Margaret Furgeson died on May 22, 1951 and Harry Furgeson died on October 14, 1956; both are buried in Tacoma, Washington.
*Sewer card does not indicate any sewer construction on the street until 1921, with 7040’s sewer being built in 1923. Does this mean that the houses were built in the 1920s (not 1910s) or that the houses were built earlier but without sewer lines? If the latter, does that mean the houses were on septic systems?? If the house was not built until 1923 that helps explain why it doesn’t show up on the 1910 or 1920 censuses, although it doesn’t explain why it isn’t on the 1930 census… The Assessor’s archives indicate both a 1910 construction date AND a building age of 22 years in 1942—confusing!