Constructed in 1904 for Charles and Richard Kutzner, the Kutzner Block is among the oldest, most intact and architecturally significant historic buildings within the Ballard Avenue Landmark District. The Ballard Avenue Landmark District encompasses a particularly well preserved section of one of several successful small towns that flourished around the perimeter of Seattle in the late nineteenth century and would be subsequently incorporated into the metropolis. Ballard Avenue is lined with an intact collection of modest scale commercial buildings that reflect the development of the community’s main commercial street between 1890 and 1930. The character of this distinctive historic streetscape was primarily preserved because it was by-passed by Post-War era development that instead occurred along modern arterials - Market Street and 15th Avenue, to the north and east. In 1976, the Ballard Avenue Landmark District was formally designated a local historic district by the City of Seattle and was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places (Ballard Avenue Historic District).
This historic property is directly associated with a crucial era in the commercial and industrial development of Ballard (1900-1907) when the commercial district along Ballard Avenue was fully established and a significant number of permanent buildings were constructed. By the early 1900s Ballard became known as the “Shingle Capital of the World” with approximately twenty lumber and shingle mills in full operation. In addition to the mill operations the industrialized shoreline included iron foundries, machine shops, paint manufactures, shipyards, pipe making plants and boiler works. Substantial commercial buildings were constructed along Ballard Avenue as the local population grew to over 10,000 residents (including 3,400+ school age children) by 1904. During this era Ballard Avenue functioned as a full service commercial street populated by numerous boarding houses, hotels and lodging houses, clothing merchants, banks, hardware dealers, druggists, dry good stores, laundry businesses, meat markets, restaurants, theaters and saloons. Gradually, the earliest wood-frame structures were replaced by more permanent – often architect designed – commercial buildings. Among the distinctive masonry and stone buildings that date from this era and most of which continue to characterize the streetscape are the G.B. Sanborn Block (1901, Portland Building (1901), Felt Block/Jones Building (1901, demolished), St. Charles Hotel (1902), Deep Sea Fisherman’s Building (1902), Scandinavian American Bank (1902), Matthes Block (1903), Kelsey Block (1903), Junction/Lombardini Block (1904), Kutzner Block (1904), Barthelemy Bros. Hardware Building (c.1904), Ernst Brothers Hardware Building (1904, demolished), A.L. Palmer Building (1905), Theisen Block (1905), Ballard Hardware Supply (1905), Peterson Hardware Co. (c.1905), Markussen Building (1905), and the Enquist Block (1906). In late 1906 Ballard residents approved annexation and the town became part of the City of Seattle on January 1, 1907. The boom era of major commercial construction began to lessen after the annexation.
[aka 5306-5310] Efforts to identify the original architect or builder of this historic property have been unsuccessful. According to historic 1905 insurance maps its original address was 242-247 Ballard Avenue, which also identified as the “Kuztner Bldg”. Brothers Charles and Richard Kutzner had the building constructed in 1904 to house their successful barber shop (Tonsorial Parlor) that had been formerly located in the Seattle commercial district. The building was designed to function with two storefront level shops and lodging and/or rooms at the second floor. It utilized the common central entry/stair passage plan to provide access to second floor level, this was typical of several other commercial buildings that were constructed on Ballard Avenue during this era and the prior decade. City directories from 1904 -06 indicate that The Queen Hotel (providing furnished rooms) was located at 242-1/2 Ballard Avenue and that the Princess Theater was located in the southern storefront at 242 Ballard Avenue. The Kutzners operated their business here until 1920 or later; by 1910 it appears that Neal Boyle – a clothier - had established a shop in the former theater space. In 1912, J. W. Harvey opened the Harvey Variety Co. Notions, Etc. in the building. Alton T. Crumpacker, a retail jeweler was located at 5308 Ballard Avenue in 1935 and until at least 1945. The building was purchased by A.W. and Anna Anderson 7-24-1934. The upper floor level continued to function as the Queen Hotel (with approx. 20 rooms) until at least the late 1930s.
Property Record Cards (1937-1972). Washington State Regional Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch, Bellevue, WA.
“Ballard Avenue Historic District” National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Form (Prepared by Elisabeth Walton Potter, OAHP, April 1976.)
Ballard Historical Society, Ballard Avenue Landmark District Plaque Project records.
Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash. Philadelphia: W.G. Baist, 1905, 1912.
Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1884-1951. Digital versions available via Seattle Public Library - www.spl.org.