Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 7533 31ST AVE / Parcel ID 1205000200 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Common Name:
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1931

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 one story house has seen more than its share of history. Built in 1930 the City of Seattle Side Sewer cards list V.P. Vandever is owner and contractor of this residence as well as that of 7539 (an almost twin tudor) just north. It’s interesting to note that V. P. Vandever of 32nd NW was Vera Pearl Vandever. She was one of four girls in a family originally from Iowa who lived in Ballard, their mother was deceased and a cousin was helping to raise the family.  She was 23 when she’s listed as owner of both homes. In 1936 she married Arthur Borgford (of 28th NW) and they lived in the home after their marriage until they relocated to Kirkland in 1945.

The home was initially a rental at $35/mo. The tenants were Mr. and Mrs. Percy D. Sankey. Mr. Sankey was the son of Percy C. Sankey who located in Ballard from England in 1892. He was a well-known Ballard clothing merchant doing business as Sankey & Grubb. In a September 26, 1899 Special Dispatch in the Seattle Daily Times notes he is building another brick building next to his existing one; the third brick building of the month. He is credited with preventing a garbage dump from being located along Shilshole and was involved with Shilshole Marine and promoting businesses along Seaview. Son James also played semi-professional football and baseball for the Ballard Meteors.  The senior Sankeys lived on Leary Way.

In the early 1930’s son Percy D. and his wife Ruth were involved in the community as she served several term as Club Secretary of the Sunset Hill Improvement Society. However by 1939 they had relocated to Magnolia (as did a brother Harold). Both Sankey sons worked for the City of Seattle for their entire careers; Percy retiring after 46 years and then moving to Freeland, Washington for his next two decades. His brother Harold was Chief Accountant for Seattle City Light but died of a heart attack while waiting for a bus near his home in Magnolia on his way to his workplace of 39 years.

In 1945 the Borgfords sold to James G. Rogers of whom nothing was found. It was purchased in 1947 by Herman J. Lether who relocated with his family from Ogden, Utah and worked for the Pullman Co. They were members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Mrs. Naomi Lether was often listed in local fishing contests as a winner in Silver Salmon competitions. They had three children who attended James Monroe Junior High and Ballard High School. Unfortunately their oldest child, Brent Lether died in a boating accident at Lake Goodwin in Everett the summer (August 1954) before his Sophomore year at Ballard.

The residence changed hands in 1963, purchased by Stenis (Sten) Stokes. Stokes was a lifelong photography specialist whose father was in charge of aerial photography for General Doolittle during World War II. Per an article in Seattle Daily Times (Sept. 1978) Stokes opened Lakeside Camera in Kirkland after managing Tall’s Camera and owning Camera and Sound Hut in downtown Seattle. Lakeside Camera became a family business with his wife and their four children all working in the shop.

Since 2000 the residence has changed hands five different times with Shawn & Andrew Moser the current owners.

All information from Seattle Daily Times, U.S Census and City Directories.
Constructed in 1931, this 1.5 story Tudor Revival-style single-family house is largely square in plan, sits on a concrete foundation, is clad with red brick veneer, and features a steeply-pitched asphalt-clad side-gabled roof with returned eaves and exposed verge boards. The front façade includes two steeply pitched gabled bays that flank a centered window section. The entry is on the southern bay. Windows include triads of multi-pane glass (which appear to not be original) and tall, narrow window openings beneath the gable peak. A detached single-car garage is at the rear of the property. Despite the presence of some replaced windows, this house has been minimally altered and retains most aspects of integrity.

Detail for 7533 31ST AVE / Parcel ID 1205000200 / Inv # 0

Classication: District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Square
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
: Slight
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 7533 31ST AVE / Parcel ID 1205000200 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 01, 1900

Photo taken Feb 01, 2016

Photo taken Feb 01, 2016
App v2.0.1.0