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.
This home was designed by “prolific” Northwest architect Thomas E. Dunstan. Northwest raised, his work was often featured in the Parade of Homes section of The Seattle Daily Times. Cited as being inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright he would design and live in many of the homes. He and a partner had created a series of Puget Sound Home Plans (1-12). He then practiced as Thomas E. Dunstan architect and had a long career that led him to an entire development in Broadview and then to the eastside (for example Thunderbird House in Bellevue), and beyond (Chicago). He designed thousands of houses in the area.
This home still stands out particularly on Sunset Hill with its circular drive on the flat (west) side of the street. Its Open House was written up in the 7.25.48 Parade of Homes with much detail about built-ins. The plans show an unusual orientation designed to maximize the view. Thomas was married to Dorothy Kincaid (his first of three wives) and together they had three children. It’s unclear how long Dunstan lived there. By 1955 he had moved onto another design-build. The house appears in a for sale listing in September, 1959, with the description of it being “Dunstan-designed.” Another advertisement appears on May 13, 1960 with the words, “priced at $46,500 for quick sale.” This must have done the trick because as 1963 there is record of Ridgeway Cumming at that address in his obituary. He was survived by his wife Agnes; their daughter Mrs. William A. Brennan is on the King County Parcel Property District in a sale to the Hammers (current owners) in 2004 making for four decade family ownership run.