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 first owners and occupants of the house at 7558 16th Avenue Northwest were Joseph Hiram (born 1852) and Minnie Eleise (born 1867) Frost. Seattle City Directories show the Frosts living at the house from 1911 to 1929. Joseph worked as a lineman and later became district manager for the Security Benefit Association; Minnie was a seamstress but also held positions as forewoman for two companies; J.A. Baker & Company in 1911 and 12, and J.S. Graham Inc. in 1913. Joseph was born in Sidney, Iowa of parents from Tennessee and Virginia and reportedly came out to California in 1862 in a covered wagon; Minnie was born in California of parents from Germany. Application for a side sewer was made in 1923 with Joseph listed as owner and John Manninen as the contractor. John was also side sewer contractor for several other houses on the block between 1923 and 1949. In 1931 the Frosts moved to 6711 Alonzo Avenue. Joseph died on September 6, 1939. Minnie died just three months later on December 14, 1939.
The next family to occupy the house at 7558 16th Avenue NW from 1930 to 1931 were the Olsons consisting of Henry (born 1882), a carpenter; his wife Mary (born 1886); and their five children, LaVerne, Beatrice, Earl, Glen, and May. A mechanic named Walter Garvey also lived with the family as a boarder. The Olsons came to Seattle from Wisconsin and appear only to have stayed in Seattle a few years—records indicate they returned to Wisconsin in 1935.
Assessor’s records suggest the house was owned by Jerry Hajek in 1936, however there are no records that indicate he ever lived in the house. Jerry was born in Illinois, in 1898, to parents from Prague, Bohemia, and lived in Ballard between 1938 and 1941 operating a gas station on Leary Way. He and his wife, Elsie, came to Seattle at least as early as 1919 from Montana. He advertised his automotive services in the Seattle Times throughout the 1930s, but by 1942 had relocated to Richmond, California, also operating a gas station there. By the 1980s they had moved to Sonoma, California where Elsie died in 1983 and Jerry died in 1986.
In 1940, Nellie C. Fish (born 1887), a widow working as a barber, was living alone in the house. Nellie (maiden name Paul) was born in Michigan and appears to have moved to Seattle in about 1920 with her mother and siblings. She married Anton Fish in 1899 and they had a son, Archie in 1902. It appears Anton died in 1939, after which Nellie moved to 7558 16th Avenue; sadly, she died in July of 1940, having only lived in the house a few months.
The King County Assessor’s archives list Frederick C. Lindell as owner of the property in 1940, but it is unclear whether he ever lived in the house. Frederick was born in Washington in 1904; the last of five children and living with his parents, Carl Magnus and Ida Lindell, on Yancy Street in West Seattle. Carl was born in Sweden and had his own barber shop; Ida was born in New York and her parents were from Germany. Frederick lived with his parents on Yancy Street at least from 1910 to 1920; by the 1930 Federal Census he was living on his own at 7732 27th NW in Ballard and working as a fireman for a boat company. He was still living on 27th in 1939 working and traveling as a seaman, but by 1940 is not listed in the Seattle Directory. He appears again in the late 1950s, living in south Seattle. He died in Seattle in 1984.
Assessor’s records indicate a Stuart G. Rough as owner of the property in 1963; however, no other records have been found to suggest he lived in the house—or even in Seattle.