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Summary for 2026 NW Market ST NW / Parcel ID 276700960 / Inv # BA003

Historic Name: Ballard Carnegie Library Common Name: Ballard Library
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical Neighborhood: Crown Hill/Ballard
Built By: Henderson Ryan Year Built: 1904
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The Ballard Carnegie library served the community, first the City of Ballard and later the City of Seattle, from 1904 until it was replaced by a new building in 1963. As early as 1900 the Women's Christian Temperance Union of Ballard, an incorporated city north of Seattle, began raising money for a free library. In 1903 the city appointed a Library Board of Trustees, which requested a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to build a library. The foundation furnished $15,000, on the condition that the city provide a site and promise to maintain the library. The board hired Henderson Ryan as its architect, and the building was completed in 1904. The new structure became a community center, providing not only library service, but an auditorium used for community meetings and performances. It was also a major focus for early Scandinavian immigrants, with classes in English, citizenship and first aid. The library became part of the Seattle system when Ballard was annexed into the city in 1907. This is one of four Carnegie libraries in the city. Since its closure as a library, the building has been privately owned and used for offices and retail purposes. It was placed on the National Register in 1977. Andrew Carnegie, a Scotsman who had made a fortune in the steel industry, was the primary stimulus to library construction in the United States. In his later years, he donated more than $40,000,000 to build 1,679 public libraries in 1,412 communities throughout the United States. His foundation donated $445,000 to Seattle and Ballard for the construction of a new main library (now destroyed) and four branches. Henderson Ryan, educated at the University of Kentucky, came to Seattle in 1899, and practiced architecture here from 1900 to 1923. The Ballard library was one of his first major commissions, and one of his best known. Other major designs completed by Ryan were the Waldorf Hotel (destroyed), the Maryland Apartments (a city landmark) and the Neptune Theater in the University District.
This two-and-and-half story building has a cruciform plan with a semi-circular apse on the rear (north) elevation. The main façade features a protruding enclosed pediment portico with four colossal order pilasters with Corinthian capitals supporting the main entablature. The entablature, cornice and building soffit have pronounced modillions. The frieze is of sheet metal with a floral pattern. The architrave is masonry with raised letters saying t "Carnegie Free Public Library." A balcony on the second floor interrupts the two central pilasters and is supported by two white marble columns with Ionic capitals. The balcony itself is of convex sheet metal. Immediately behind the balcony is a round arch with stone voussoirs. Between the inner and outermost pair of pilasters on the first level are small arched round windows toughly half the size of the large arch. Above these window are a pair of elliptical "spider web" windows of leaded glass. The walls are solid brick masonry. The exterior is reddish brown gauged bricks in a running bond pattern. The foundation is rusticated stone and concrete. The interior is much as it was originally, despite decades of commercial use. There is a main desk in the center, with reading rooms in the side bays. A dual stairway in the main entry leads to a balcony and on to the second floor, with two small rooms and a large room once used as an auditorium. Much of the interior stained fir remains, although the main bookshelves have been removed to open up the space for office and retail use.

Detail for 2026 NW Market ST NW / Parcel ID 276700960 / Inv # BA003

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured, Stone
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Education - Library Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: two & ½
Unit Theme(s): Community Planning/Development, Education
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Beals, Karalyn Morrison, National Register Nomination Form, Ballard Carnegie Library, 1977.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Passport to Ballard: The Centennial Story. Seattle: Ballard News Tribune, 1988.

Photo collection for 2026 NW Market ST NW / Parcel ID 276700960 / Inv # BA003

Photo taken Feb 02, 2002
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