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Summary for 7305 18TH AVE / Parcel ID 7518503020 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Common Name:
Style: American Foursquare - Craftsman Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Year Built: 1911

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.

The house was owned built by the Kemoe family; father Lars P., wife Elizabeth, and their sons Edwin, Laurel, and Herbert—on the northwest corner of the intersection of 18th Avenue NW and NW 73rd Street. On June 7, 1911, the City inspected and approved the sewer construction at 7305, and presumably the family moved in shortly thereafter. Between April 1910 and June 1911, fourteen houses were built on the block, including the Kemoe home. Another house was built in 1914 and one more in 1916, then no building activity until the next flurry of construction which added seven more house between 1923 and 1933; two more in 1949 and 1953; and final build-out of the block between 1984 and 1986.

Lars P. Kemoe was part of the wave of immigration from Scandinavia in the second half of the 19th century. Born in Norway in either 1842 or 1852 (Federal census records yield conflicting information), Lars arrived in the United State in 1868. The 1880 census shows him living in Fort Collins, Colorado working as a stonemason and sharing housing with two other stonemasons, a Norwegian named Ole Olson and a Swede named Charlie Olson (not related). In 1881, he and Johanna M. Lund had a daughter whom they named Helena. It isn’t clear whether Johanna died or she and Lars divorced, but in 1880 he married Rose A. Dexter, an immigrant from London, England who came to the United States in 1851 at just two years of age and became a successful dressmaker and milliner in Fort Collins. She had been married previously to Frederick Stiffler (1872) and bore a son named Charlie with him in 1875. After Frederick died, Rose married Lars and they had a son, Paul, in 1883. Sadly, he died at just four months old. Rosa herself lived only another two years, dying of consumption in 1885 leaving Lars a widower. In 1888 he met Elizabeth Udness (born 1870), a recent immigrant from Norway. Perhaps to get a fresh start, they moved to Washington state, settling in Ballard, where Elizabeth gave birth to their three sons in 1889, 1892, and 1895. Between 1889 and 1910, Lars worked as a carpenter/contractor and brick and stonemason, living first on State Street at 2nd West and later at 1762 West 62nd Street. In 1900, many of their neighbors on State Street were also Norwegian. In 1910, their neighbors on West 62nd Street were more diverse, coming from Australia, England, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Montana.

In 1911, Lars’ oldest son Edwin was listed as “owner” of the property newly built at 7305 18th Avenue NW, although census records indicate that the entire family—Lars, Elizabeth, Edwin, Laurel, and Herbert—lived together in the house. (Daughter Helena had come with Lars and Elizabeth from Colorado but did not live in the house, she married and established her own home in Renton her husband William Knapp.) Given Lars’ background in stonework and carpentry, it is likely that the massive stone steps and house foundation were his work, along with construction of house itself.

Just three years later, on July 16 1914, Lars P. died after “a long illness,” as stated in his obituary. The house remained in the family from that point forward until approximately 1979. Edwin assumed the “head of household” role as the older brother, living with Laurel and Herbert and their mother until her death on February 13, 1928. The three brothers were then bachelors in the house for many years until Edwin and Herbert married late in life; Laurel never married. Upon his marriage, Edwin moved out of the house to an apartment on Phinney Ridge. Laurel and Herbert remained in the family home until they died in 1979 and 1970, respectively.

Edwin Waldo Kemoe worked as a statistician for City Light for 50 years, and later gained recognition as the originator of the Skagit power plant tours. A news account indicates that Edwin liked to play baseball as a young man, and after an opportunity to play ball against the Seattle City Light team where his City Electric Company team beat City Light 12-0, he was offered a job with the agency—increasing his pay to $80 a month; $35 more than he had been making at his prior job. Edwin started giving tours of the Skagit River hydroelectric project in 1928 at the request of the Women’s City Club. That first tour for 100 women grew over time to over 22,000 people in 1941. In 1939, Edwin was a pallbearer at the funeral of J.D. Ross, public power luminary and namesake for the Ross Dam. During the war the tours ceased, but were resumed in 1953. That same year, Edwin married Margaret, a secretary at Phoenix Shingle Company, and moved to 5705 Phinney Avenue, Apartment #403. At the time of his retirement in 1957, he was City’s Lights longest-serving employee. After retirement he and Margaret took to the road on various car trips and spent time at their Guemes Island summer home. Edwin also remained active in many Ballard organizations including Occidential Lodge #22, F & AM; Ballard Chapter #26, Royal Arch Masons; Methlehem Commandery #19, Knights Templar; Nile Temple fo the Shrine, Occidental Chapte #28, Ordder of the Eastern Star, Corinthian Court #15, order of Amaranth; Manetho Shrine #17, White Shrine of Jerusalem, Cochran Post #40, American Legion, the City Light Employees Retirment Club, and the Hoot Mirandy Club. He died March 16, 1964, at age 75. His wife, Margaret, died September 8, 1973 at the age of 80.

Over the years, Laurel Byron Kemoe was listed variously in City Directories and census records as a worker in a ship chandlery (1917), an employee at American Hardware Company (1923), fisherman and boat builder (1930), a worker at Fruitland Nursery (1953), and most notably as a clerk for Superior Court Judge Hugh C. Todd during the late 1930s and early 40s. Newspaper accounts from 1939 and 1940 mention Laurel in humorous anecdotes about Court activities, suggesting that he was well known among his colleagues. Laurel was, in fact, very interested in local politics, and at least twice ran for public office; in 1911 for City Council and in 1948 for Governor. Despite not being elected into office, he remained active in local politics and social clubs. Laurel died in November, 1979, still residing at the family home.

Edwin and Laurel were both members of the “Hoot Mirandies Club,” a social club formed in 1906 by Ballard High School students. The club continued to meet until its members were well into their 70s; hosting annual get-togethers with clubs formed by later generations of Ballard High School graduates.

Herbert Russell Kemoe was similarly listed under various occupations: shipfitter at Ames Shipyard (1917), fisherman and boat builder (1930), salesman for a paint company (1940), ironworker at TSDD (1942), worker at Fruitland Nursery (1953), salesman for George H. Jorgenson (1957), and agent at Southwest Petroleum (1960). Census records for 1942 also indicate Nancy x. living at the house as wife of Herbert, although other records show that he married an Alice Olson on August 17, 1926—no other census records indicate any other wives living at 7305. Herbert died on March 6, 1970, age 75, still living at the family home.

Helen(a) Kemoe Knapp died February 4, 1953 in Renton, where she had lived since her marriage to grocery store operator William Knapp; he preceded her in death in 1944. Mrs. Knapp was a member of the Hazelwood Community Club and Hazelwood Women’s Club. At the time of her death, she was survived by her son, Wyman C. Knapp, of San Gabriel, California, her three brothers, and two grandchildren.


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 house is situated on a corner lot and sits elevated several feet above the street, giving it a commanding presence enhanced even further by the mass of the rectangular 2 ½-story structure. The first feature one notices upon approaching the property are the massive stone steps leading up to the house itself. It is said that these are made of Wilkeson sandstone left over from the University of Washington Theodor Jacobsen Observatory (itself built of leftover materials from the construction of Denny Hall); a masonry project that Lars P. Kemoe reportedly worked on. A stonemason by trade, Lars naturally featured stonework in his family home.

In addition to the stone entry steps, the front porch foundation is entirely made of the same dressed stone and forms the base for the stone and wood piers that support the gable-roofed open porch. As originally built, there appears to have been a wood pergola that extended from the porch roof across the rest of the front façade with a square column supporting the southeast corner of the pergola. The wood steps that lead up to the front porch are asymmetrically located to the left of the front door and roofed portion of the porch. The porch gable end is detailed with a sunburst arrangement of half-timbered pieces springing from the central beam.   

The main body of the house itself is also gable-roofed, facing 18th Avenue, with the same deep overhanging eaves and wide bargeboards of the porch gable. The first story of the house is clad in lap siding, separated from stucco and half-timbering of the second and attic stories by a stringcourse. Unlike the sunburst angled half-timbering in the porch gable, the half-timbering on the house is all vertical; tall timbers set approximately two feet apart divide the second story front façade into eight segments. Two pairs of double-hung windows—six light over one—are symmetrically located over the half-timbering. Another stringcourse separates the second story from the attic which also has half-timbering in approximately the same configuration as the second story. In the middle of the front façade at the attic level is a bank of four smaller multi-paned windows.

Along the side facades, windows are placed singly or in pairs, and there are small shed-roofed extensions on both sides. The current owners have installed a roof-top deck to take advantage of the views afforded by the site and the height of the house itself. Over time the landscaping on the lot has matured such that it is difficult to see more than glimpses of the house from the street. A bank of nearly tree-sized purple rhododendrons flanks the south façade; at the front façade are several huge trees and assorted shrubs. There is a driveway off 18th Avenue that leads past the north façade to a small garage.

Detail for 7305 18TH AVE / Parcel ID 7518503020 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan:
Structural System: No. of Stories: two & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 7305 18TH AVE / Parcel ID 7518503020 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 01, 2016

Photo taken Feb 01, 2016
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