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.
There is no known architect for this house, however because of its modest size and style it falls into the category of a one-story craftsman cottage with 610 square feet on main floor and 610 square feet of unfinished basement. The house appears to be entirely unchanged today.
King County Assessor information reports the house was built in 1924 but Polk City Directories show that boatbuilder Olaf Gulla and his wife Olga started living at the address in 1922. Census information reports he was head of household and renting, not owner. Olaf’s occupation changed from boatbuilder to machinist and then to plasterer in the eight years that he and Olga resided there.
Property cards from Puget Sound Regional Archives indicate the house was owned by Elias Gulla in 1932, although Elias lived with his parents a few blocks away. Census information also reveals that Olaf was Elias’s younger brother. At that time records show the the street was gravel and the sidewalks were plank. Because residency turned over frequently during the 30’s, 40’s and well into the 1950’s it is likely the home was a rental property. In the 30’s and 40‘s residents included a painter, grocer, fisherman, and a Bartell Drug Co. warehouseman.
In 1959 Mrs. Jennie Hoflin, a widow from Minnesota bought the house. She lived there only a year before she too passed away in 1960. The house appears to have stayed in the family with her daughter Margaret Morchin. Again, frequent resident turnover seems to indicate use as a rental property. Current owner/resident is Peter Morchin, Jennie Hoflin’s grandson.
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.
Polk City Directories
King County Department of Assessments
Puget Sound Regional Archives
US Census 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940