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 house at 7748 23rd Ave NW was built by developer Earl F. Mench in 1941. Unlike most modest houses of this era it was architect designed, by H.R. Munday. The contractor, John Manninen, built most of the Mench houses. The house is valued on the original permit at $5,800. The permit fee was $12.
The original 1942 owners appear to be James O. and Ethel Wolbro. According to the 1942 City Directory, James worked at the Crown View Tavern. Succeeding occupants (and possibly owners) are: (1943/44) Christopher R. and Natalie Reed, he worked at The Caballero; (1954-65) Mrs. Agnes C. McNamara; (1966) Donald N. Bachlem, a dentist. The house was listed as vacant in the 1967 City Directory. Ken W. Decker, a Boeing engineer, resided there 1968-70. The house was then purchased (date unknown) by Jack and Charlotte A. Glenday. Seattle Times articles from 1954-66, show that Jack Glenday was a highly regarded baseball player in the active Seattle Metro League. Teams included Dog House , Zips Drive-in, Lucky Lager, IGA and Lower Woodland. After the Glendays, the house was bought by Nancy Johansson (1990) and then by Ami J. and Christopher English (2003). The current owner/residents since 2008 are Ruth and Susan McNally.
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.