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.
Over the 100+ years since it was built, the house at 7003 26th Avenue NW has been home to just a handful of families. The first known owner was William T. Roberts (born 1868) who applied for a side sewer permit in April of 1911; the contractor of record is Louis Benson, a Swede who emigrated to the United States in 1888 and worked as a blacksmith. Mr. Benson arrived in Seattle via Wisconsin, and lived in Ballard with his wife Ida from at least 1910 until his death sometime in the 1930s. Mr. Roberts was an electrician from Michigan who, in 1910, was living with his wife Mary and their children at 7332 25th Avenue NW—just a couple of blocks away from the site on 26th. They moved into the house at 7003 26th Avenue upon its completion and stayed there until 1918 when they moved to 5810 17th NW. In those early years 1910-1920, neighbors on the street included a logger, laundry girl, shipwright, lumber camp cook, and mason from California, Idaho, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Sweden. By 1930 the street included families from Canada, Iceland, Sweden, and Minnesota, as well as Washington state; occupations included restaurant workers, marine workers, dry goods employees, a laundress, and vegetable sellers.
The next occupants, George C. (born 1877) and Catherine G. (born 1879) Lawrence, lived in the house from 1918 until 1955. Both George and Catherine were born in California from German parents, however George had moved to Ballard as a young man, living on Times Street with his parents in 1900 and listed in City Directories for 1905, 1906, and 1907 at 421 Crawford Street working as a bricklayer. He continued to work steadily in the area as a brick mason his entire working life. From 1910 to 1917 he was living at 2230 West 64th with his wife and first son, George A., and in 1918 the family moved to 7003 26th NW, where they remained until his death in the early 1950s, after which Catherine remained until at least 1955. Their sons remained in the Ballard area after their parents’ deaths; George living at 7312 26th Avenue NW with his wife Jewel and daughter Janis in 1940 and working also a brick mason, and Ralph living at 609 West 82nd Street with his wife Marie and son William. Ralph was a warehouseman for the Ford Motor Company.