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 building is said to have been built in 1910, but no records have been found to indicate who owned
or lived in the building at the outset.
King County Assessor’s records indicate that Jean Todd Fredson owned the building in 1916. Jean was
born in Iowa and was a grammar and high school teacher; census records show her living in Mason
County, Washington in 1910 with her husband and daughter. In 1911 her husband died and she and her
daughter moved to Seattle, where they both worked as teachers and lived in south Seattle. By 1920 she
had returned to Mason County.
The 1928 Seattle Directory with reverse listings offers a peek at who actually lived in the building in the
1920s. Living at 6013 was R.O. Allen, and at 6013 ½ was Captain Marie Carlson; no tenants are listed for
6015 or 6015 ½. In 1931, Captain Carlson was still living there, but Edward H. Haubrock, a real estate
broker, and his wife Bertha had moved into 6013 and K.M. Pedersen in 6015. By 1934, only the
Haubrocks remained. Curiously, census records for 1930 and 1940 list the Haubrocks as living at 5913
20th NW, but there does not appear to be a 5913 address, so presumably the address was noted in error.
The Haubrocks came to Seattle sometime in 1922 from Bellingham. Edward died in 1941 of a sudden
heart attack. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and was survived by his wife Bertha and
In 1940 tenants in the building included William H. Bridge in 6013; Albert W. Wright in 6013 ½; William
M. Speck in 6015; and Olaf O. Peterson in 6015 ½. William Bridge was a service man for a tire company,
living with his wife Isllah and their two children—records indicate they were living at 6013 at least as early as 1935. Albert W. Wright was a dump truck driver, living with wife Estelle and their two
daughters; also living there since at least 1935. William Speck was a gardener at Fort Lawton. He and his
wife Margaret had lived in Yakima on a fruit farm prior to moving to the apartment on 20th NW. In the
1900 census he was a listed a prize fighter in Skagit, Washington. Olaf O. Pedersen was born in Norway
and worked as a conveyor man at a sawmill. He lived in the apartment with his wife Elizabeth; in 1935
they had been living in rural Saskatchewan.
King County Assessor’s records indicate that the property changed hands several times in the 1950s and
60s: owned by Arnold J. Bush in 1952; Walter and Mabel Tiberg in 1953; Irving Christenson in 1955; Alve
L. Rowland in 1960; John C. A. Nestor in 1969; and Don L. Ferwanda in 1974. In 2006 the property was
converted to condominiums and it is currently known as “The Retreat at 20th, LLC.”
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.
Given that the massing of the building is essentially a large rectangular box—two stories tall with a flat
roof—the Craftsman detailing that is applied with a Classical sensibility is what sets the building apart
and gives it an elegance beyond what the form itself would otherwise suggest. It was originally built as
four units—addresses 6013, 6013 ½, 6015, and 6015 ½--but in recent years an additional unit was
created in the basement.
Set back only a few feet from the sidewalk, the building faces 20th Avenue straight on with a symmetrical
front façade composed of beautifully proportioned windows, doors, trim, and cladding. Approximately
ten steps lead up to a large and welcoming one-story, hipped-roof entry porch that is centrally located
on the front façade, and supported by two large square columns at either corner. Each column is
articulated with wood trim to distinguish, simply but elegantly, the capital, shaft, and base. A large beam
sits astride the columns supporting the roof, and Victorian-style curved corner brackets accent the
meeting of columns with beam above. Delicate rafter ends are visible around the perimeter of the
porch, punctuating the roofline much like Classical dentil trim. The original porch also contained a low
balustrade at the roof level—since no doors opened onto the roof deck, it was likely only ornamental
and not functional; the balustrade is no longer there.
Four front doors are placed in a row under the shelter of the porch; each door being comprised of a
panel design with a six-light window in the upper third, and each door trimmed neatly with molding all
around including a crown mold at the top. Lantern-style black metal porch lights are installed at either
end of the porch along with other black metal furnishings—front door knobs and doorplates and a
mailbox or newspaper receptacle—that offer a crisp contrast to the white trim and soft green walls.
Two-story tall bay windows project out from the front corners of the building. Each bay consists of
matching double-hung windows arranged in sets of three at the first and second story levels. The bays
are capped with a large trim board that meets the shallow shed roof of the building; as with the porch
roof, slender rafter ends march around the perimeter of the roof creating a rhythm that echoes that of the porch. The walls of the building extend above what is actually a false shed roof, much like a
The building is clad in narrow lap siding with a single projecting narrow stringcourse at the foundation
level. It should be noted, however, that the trim at the tops of the windows at first and second floor
levels is very similar to the dimension of the stringcourse, and gives the effect of being additional
stringcourses articulating each floor level. The side facades of the building each include several windows
in matching arrangements for first and second stories, and similar trim details as those on the front
The current painting scheme of mint green walls with white trim strengthens the effect of the Classical
symmetry and details; in historical photos, the paint scheme of lighter walls and darker trim—the
reverse of the current scheme—seems to emphasize aspects of the building that are Craftsman in style.
Either way, the building is well-proportioned and detailed, and an asset to the streetscape.