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.
In 1925, lots in the Barron addition were advertised with the slogan, “[g]et out where the sun is bright, the air pure, the scenery and surroundings beautiful.” This 1.5 story brick tudor was constructed in 1929 for AR Seeley. The contractor on the project was C Cognina.
By 1938, Joseph F and Elfreida J Best were living the home with their daughters Phyllis M, Averill L Jorgenson and son-in-law, Cedric K Jorgenson. The Jorgenson’s only stayed a year or two. For a time in 1945, after Phyllis married Robert J O’Connor, they also lived with her parents.
Mr. Best owned and operated the Super Brake Service at Third and Blanchard through 1947, then joining S L Savidge, Inc.
The Bests relocated from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota in 1922 after selling their farm. A Seattle Times article from 1946 highlighted the annual picnic of Pelican Rapids folk, crediting Mr. Best with writing his friends and family about the “advantages of the Pacific Northwest,” and encouraging about 100 to make the move.
Mr. and Mrs. Best celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1965; Joseph passed away in 1969 and Elfreida joined him in 1979.
A 120 foot dormer was added to the house in 2005.
Side Sewer Cards
Seattle Daily Times
Seattle City Directories 1938, 1940, 1948/49, 1955 and 1964
King County Assessor’s Database