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).
After 1930, with the impacts of the economic depression and the shift of commercial activity to Market Street, the status of Ballard Avenue as the community’s principal business street was eclipsed. The lower or southernmost end of the street became increasingly more industrial in character as nearby factory warehouses, mill yards and light industrial operations expanded. For the most part the buildings along Ballard Avenue continued to be used for commercial, light industrial and upper floor level residential or lodging purposes into the 1960s. The majority of commercial activity became more concentrated toward the northernmost end of the street adjacent to Market Street. A light industrial complex and two modern era buildings were constructed along the street in the 1950s. While they contrast distinctly with the numerous extant late-19th C and early-20th C properties that characterize the streetscape, they reflect a developmental era integral to the history of the community and a subsequent era that prompted historic preservation efforts.
This is the only example of post-war era new commercial/office building to be built on Ballard Avenue. Constructed 1948 for Glenn J. Twigg. Designed by J. I. Mattson according to Permit 386324 (date 3-10-48) and constructed by Isak Johnson for $10,000. Glen J. Twigg was a successful local resident, realtor and businessman. After construction, he appears to have housed his realty and insurance firm – Piedemann & Twigg at this location. Eidem Upholstery has been a long time tenant.
Sources of Information:
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.
Property Record Cards (1937-1972). Washington State Regional Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch, Bellevue, WA.