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.
City of Seattle sewer card records indicate the property at 3036 was owned by a Sam Dorris in 1912 at the time of application for a side sewer permit, however, no additional information has been found to further document him as the original owner and/or occupant. A K. Cramey is listed as the side sewer contractor; it is possible this individual is one of three Syrian immigrants (George, Hassan, and Kabalon—possibly brothers) with the last name Cramey who were working as laborers in Seattle at that time and listed in the 1910 City Directory living together at 324 Second Avenue North. Just five houses were built on NW 66th that year; the next house wasn’t built until 1914, after which another five were built between 1919 and 1927. The rest of the block was built out in the 1940s, 60s, and 80s.
In 1923 or 24 Peter and Marie Rodal moved into the house with their children Clara, Ingwald, and Paul. Peter was a halibut fisherman who had immigrated to the United States in 1900, living initially in Ishmening, Michigan, as a boarder with Edvard Rodal—possibly his twin brother. Two years later in 1902 Peter met and married Marie Gjore, and by 1905 they had moved from Ishmening to Seattle where Peter was listed as a laborer living at 155 Post Street in Ballard. By 1910 Peter and Marie had settled in at 928 West 64th where they lived until at least 1922 before moving to 3036 NW 66th Street. A newspaper from June 28, 1914 advertised a big July 4th celebration—“a glorious, old-time fourth at Ballard”—and lists Peter Rodal as Chairman, guaranteeing all who attend a “grand spectacular parade” and “three dance halls…, races of all kinds; contests, in fact, all the old-time amusements…” with a 5 cent car fare from any point in Seattle.
Peter’s and Marie’s children, Clara, Ingwald, and Paul, lived with them in the house on NW 66th Street through most of the 1930s; Clara and Ingwald only moving out when they married. Peter worked as a fisherman until 1928 when he joined the City of Seattle Engineering Department as a street maintenance worker. Clara worked as a telephone operator, Ingwald was a salesman, and Paul was a shipping clerk. In 1923 Peter’s brother Edvard lived not far away with his wife Irene at 3237 24th Avenue West, and several other Rodals—including some who were halibut fishermen—also lived within Ballard who may have been related to Peter and Edvard.
In the 1930s Peter’s and Marie’s neighbors were from Kansas, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, and Alaska, but mostly of Norwegian and Swedish descent; occupations included minister, delivery man, planer, stenographer, salesman, and grocer. In 1953 Marie died, age 72, and Peter moved to 6743 11th NW; Marie was a member of Breidablik Lodge #10; Daughter of Norway; and Scandinavian Fraternity Lodge #65. Peter passed away just three years later on July 11, 1956, age 76. His obituary notes that he was survived by his children Mrs. Mons (Clara) Wick of Seattle and Ingwald of North Hollywood, California, plus six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was a member of Leif Erickson Lodge #1; Sons of Norway; Ballard Lodge #65 SFof A; Ballard Aerie #172 FOE, and Nordmorslaget.
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.