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.
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According to the online King County Assessor’s Report and the Property Record Card, this house was built in 1903 or 1906, respectively. It is located in the Gilman Park Addition (1889), Block 26, Lot 7.
Alfred August Bjork (1871–1947) and his wife Ellen Wilhelmina (1883–1958), satisfied a mortgage on the property in 1906 from Anna S. Brygger, an early Ballard resident. The house was built on Chestnut St. [now 61st] just west of 4th [now 24th], and Bjork, possibly the builder, lived on the adjacent lot to the South at 416 Baker St. [now 60th] in 1904, 1905, and 1907. The 1905 Sanborn atlas showed a small structure on the lot, but it’s footprint didn’t match the structure in the 1917 Sanborn atlas, suggesting the 1906 construction date may be more accurate.
Alfred and Ellen Bjork were both born in Sweden, and lived in Seattle since about 1901. Alfred was a millwright with the Stimson Mill Company and a ship carpenter, who arrived in Seattle in 1901. The Bjorks sold the property to H. Dahlstrom in 1908. Dahlstrom appears to have rented the home until he sold it in 1919 to Herman Broberg (1880–1952). Broberg was a Swedish real estate dealer, and he sold the property six months later to Peter John Nickolson.
Peter J. Nickolson (1880–1954), a native of Sweden, and a foundry worker and cupola tender for American Foundry Co., and his wife Gerda (1889–1978) owned and resided in the home from 1919 to 1954. Peter and Gerda’s daughter, Mrs. Ruth A Green landed a 24-pound, 10-ounce king salmon, fishing out of Ray’s Boat House in 1950, qualifying her for a spot in the Times City Salmon Derby. Following Peter’s death in 1954, Gerda continued to live in the home working briefly for the Bon Marche. In 1957, Gerda remarried to John O. Jensen (1883–1962), a former commercial fisherman, and a recently retired Norwegian maintenance man for the Main Library. Jensen died a few years later, and Gerda continued living in the home until her death in 1978.
Subsequent owners included: Robert G. Duvall and Debbie Ewing (from 197?–1980), Robert F. Pfau, landscaper, and James F. Heacock (from 1980–2002), Colin D. & Kathy M. Carpenter (from 2002–2012), Steel Homes Inc. (from 2012–2013), who removed an existing garage, subdivided the lot and built two new townhomes behind the original house, and Hilary S. Seling, the current owner, as of May 2016 (from 2013 –).
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Alfred August Bjork, February 11, 1947, pg. 12.
Queen of Kings, August 13, 1950, pg. 29.
Herman Broberg, January 22, 1952. pg. 25.
Peter J. Nickolson, March 21, 1954, pg. 58
Vital Statistics. Notices of Intention to Wed, May 21, 1957, pg. 40.
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Washington, County Land Records, 1850-1954. King County Deed and Mortgage Indexes. https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1762885?collectionNameFilter=false, accessed 5/31/2016.