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.
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.
3208 (E) CRAWFORD (ST) (property possibly renumbered at one point?)
3204 W 59TH ST (property possibly renumbered at one point?)
3208 NW 59TH ST
Sobey Manufacturing Company
James and Besse Sobey built and occupied the home for a long period of time before being sold to the Johnson family. Mr. Sobey was born in England and Mrs. Besse Sobey was born in Michigan. James Sobey was a prominent figure in the community. He was the owner of the one of the local shingle mills in Ballard, the Sobey Manufacturing Company. Throughout his tenure as owner the mill he influenced industry policy, encountered a fire at his mill in 1924, and was the victim of a burglary in 1902. According to multiple articles in the Seattle Times, the wedding of their daughter, Besse Sobey was a grand event with some of the themes referencing a recent trip a the bride-to-be took with her mother and some of her sisters. The wedding took place at St. Mark’s Cathedral with the reception taking place at the Seattle Golf and Country Club.
In 1930, near the time Mr. Sobey passed away, it was determined that his estate was worth $650,000. If that value is converted to current value, the estate would be worth in excess of $9,000,000.
Polk Directory Excerpts:
1928 POLK: (3208 W 59TH) Sobey James Su 0455
1940 POLK: Johnson Ingolf jwlr Peter E Davidsen r 3208 W 59th
Property Card Excerpts:
PC: Harold B. Johnson owned home (~1937)
PC: Jokobina Johnson owned home 08/22/50
King County Parcel Viewer: Ingolf Johnson sold to Douglas M + Francia K Johnson (02/01/1982) (currently in Francia K’s name)