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 Lauren May Apartments at 5814 22nd Avenue NW was known as the Westwood Apartments for most of its 88 years. The brick veneer building was constructed in 1928 and has 33 units, three stories and a basement. The original owner was listed in King County records as 22nd NW Building Co. In 1999 John E. Moffat (Westwood Apartments Partnership) sold the building to Westwood Apartments LLC. The current owner is Metropolitan Management Co.
According to the Seattle Polk's Directory, the thirty-three 600 sf and 700 sf units have been mostly occupied (31 - 33 residents) with one two years period exceeding that when Carl A. Larson took up residence in the "basement" (1955-56). No one has occupied the basement since then. In 1939 two-thirds of the residents were men, but by 1979 80% of residents were women. In 1939 only 13 of the 32 residents had phones, by 1951 all but 5 had phones. According to Seattle Times want ads, studio apartment rent increased during the 1970s: from $82.50 (1973), $97 (1975), $105 (1976), to $125 (1977).