Throwback Thursday: Ballard 100 years ago

By Joe Veyera

It’s no secret that Ballard has been in a near constant state of change in recent years, and the neighborhood that people knew even 10 years ago is far different than the one of today. But what about the Ballard of 100 years ago? This week’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at some images of the Ballard of 1914.

The black and white photo below, taken in 1914, shows the Woodland General Hospital, a large Victorian style, multi-story building with pitched roof, turret, and covered porch. The building may have been located on Main Street, near Lincoln High School.


The black and white photo below, taken in 1914, shows the nine women members of the Al Siesta group. In the background is a painted backdrop of a forest.


The black and white photo below, taken on March 20, 1914, shows Ballard and the Ballard Railroad Bridge.


Finally, the two black and white photos below, taken in 1914, show the construction of the Ballard Locks.




Do you have an historical photo or a story that readers would enjoy hearing about? Email us at with Throwback Thursday in the subject line.

Photo and information courtesy of Ballard Historical Society.

2 comments on “Throwback Thursday: Ballard 100 years ago”

  1. Ballard police station cats go insane on September 13, 1909 Essay 7851 : Printer-Friendly Format

    On September 13, 1909, The Seattle Times reports that a mother cat and one of her kittens in the Ballard police station go insane, and that another kitten shows symptoms of a similar mental derangement. The family of cats, who were presented to the officers three months earlier, had previously been affectionate, and police are baffled as to why they became dethroned from reason.

    Cat’s in the Belfry

    The first sign of trouble began when the mother cat arched up her back, spread out her tail to “the size of an average feather duster,” and lunged at the throat of Tom, a visiting cat. Tom ran up the stairs, at which point the mother cat attacked one of her own kittens, shaking it violently by the neck until it was rescued by one of the policemen. As soon as the kitten got loose, it began showing similar symptoms as the mother and was placed in solitary confinement in a back room.

    That evening, yowls could be heard in close proximity to the station, but police searched the building and could not find the source. Occasional howls were heard the next day, and repeated searches came up empty. It wasn’t until the following day that a volunteer climbed up the tower into the belfry and found Tom sitting on a beam over the bell, where he had taken refuge from the insane cat two days earlier.

    Cat Scratch Fever

    The mother cat also attacked janitor James Doyle and clawed a clump of meat out of his hand when he attempted to pet her. Locomotive engineer J. H. Kearney got scratched on the neck when a kitten sprang up and attacked him as he walked down a hall. The kitten was immediately placed under lock and key.

    The police pointed out that when they placed mirrors in front of the cats, they ruffled their fur and attacked their own images, just like they had lunged at people and other cats. The mother cat was held under observation under the care of Dr. C. E. Knudson, whose office was in the stationhouse.

    The officers were at a loss to account for the sudden insanity of their cats, or how to solve the problem of their feline dementia. At last report, officials were deciding whether to “bring them before a lunacy commission for permanent confinement, or dispatch them by some short route into the realm where cats do not have nine lives.”

    History doesn’t record which option they chose.

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