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.
According to the online King County Assessor’s Report and the Property Record Card, this house was built in 1903 or 1904 to 1907, respectively. It is located in the Graff’s Salmon Bay Addition (1890), Block 11, Lots 7 and 8.
The house was built on Wilson [now 27th] just south of Brig [now 67th], and the first known property owner was Jennie Schoenle of Cincinnati, Ohio. Jennie likely received the land from the estate of her son Robert W. Schoenle, a Doctor of genito-urinary and skin diseases who died about 1905. His Will left a collection of medical works to the Washington Medical Library Association to be held in the Carnegie public library, and a $10,000 insurance policy and much real estate in West Seattle and Ballard to his mother Jennie Schoenle. Jennie Shoenle sold the property to Mary W. Fish (1878–19??) in 1905. The first entries in the Ballard City Directory are for Mary’s husband Emil Fish (1873–1950), a French Canadian edgerman, laborer for the Seattle Cedar Lumber Manufacturing Co., and possibly the home builder, in 1905 and 1906. Carl G. Anderson, a teamster, and his family lived in the home in 1907. The address at that time was 134 Wilson.
The property changed residents and possibly owners several times in subsequent years. David H. Ester, a laborer and janitor, owned and resided in the home with his wife Sarah E. Ester from 1910 through 1917; Johan/John Johansen, mariner and ship rigger, and his wife Christine in 1918; Phillip G. Sandy, a shipyard laborer, and his family owned and occupied the home in 1920; followed by Earl L. Burd, a blacksmith, and his wife Ester S. in 1920; Jas E. Comrada, a laborer, and his wife Anna in 1921; Olem M. Jensen, a mechanic, and his wife Karen S. in 1922; and James D. Wrenchey, a laborer, and his wife Alice in 1922.
From 1926 to 1954, Peter Bunich (1888–1955), a Yugoslavian immigrant, sawmill laborer, millworker, and long-time employee of the Booth Fisheries Corporation, and his wife Mary Bunich (1890–1964) also of Yugoslavia owned and lived in the home. Peter immigrated in 1906 and Mary in 1914, and both were members of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America. Following Peter’s death in 1955, Mary Bunich continued to live in the home until 1963.
From 1963 to 1979, Takashi Goto (1919–1975), a clerk for the Post Office, and his wife Yasuko (1924–1990), owned and resided in the home. After Takashi’s death in 1979, Mrs. Takashi Goto continued to live in the home until 1989/1990.
Subsequent owners include: Chris Colvard and Nancy Vaques (from 1990–1991), and Phillip W. and Carol A. Merrill the current owners, as of May 2016 (from 1991–).
Ballard Historical Society Classic Home Tour guides.
Crowley, Walt. Seattle Neighborhoods: Ballard--Thumbnail History. HistoryLink File # 983, accessed 6/1/16.
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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.
Cole’s Seattle Directories. 2005 - 2015.
Polk’s Seattle City Directories. 1900 – 1994.
King County Department of Assessments (2016). http://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/parcelviewer2, accessed 5/31/2016.
King County Plat Maps, King County Recorder's Office. http://188.8.131.52:8193/localization/menu.asp accessed 5/31/2016.
King County Property Record Card. Washington State Archives. Puget Sound Regional Branch.
King County Recorder’s Office (2016). http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/recorders-office.aspx accessed 5/31/2016.
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1905 Seattle, Washington 1904-1905. Sanborn Map Company, Seattle, Washington. Electronic document, http://www.spl.org, accessed May 31, 2016.
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Leaves books to library. R. W. Schoenle's Collection of Medical Works for Use of Public, February 28, 1905, pg. 7.
Mrs. Peter Bunich, January 23, 1964, pg. 43.
Peter Bunich, with Fishing Firm, Dies, May 25, 1955, pg. 46.
Takashi Goto, September 30, 1975, pg. 46.
Washington Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes. Electronic document via Ancestry Library Edition, http://www.spl.org, accessed 5/ 2016.
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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.