Ballard Historical Society event set for this month

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 8.14.56 PM

Sunset Hill Community Association (3003 NW 66th St) will host Ballard Historical Society on Wednesday, April 19, for a special event focusing on the role of the Lake Washington Ship Canal over the past century.

Author David B. Williams will inform locals about what drove civic leaders to plan a waterway in a city already surrounded by water.Williams is the author of Waterway, out this year from HistoryLink (other authors include Jennifer Ott and the staff of HistoryLink). Williams is also author of Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography. Learn about this and other titles at his website.

“This is a great event for those who interested in Seattle history and the economic and environmental effects of man-made changes in our region,” says Kris Collins from Ballard Historical Society.

The event will kick of at 7 p.m. and light refreshments will be served. The event is open to the public and donations are welcome to cover the costs of the program.

Throwback Thursday: Winter in Ballard

It seems that the cold weather is now officially upon us, so the My Ballard team wanted to take a look back at some photos of Ballard winters in times gone by.

The photo below features the home of John Nowicki at 6756 22nd Avenue NW taken in 1895 during a heavy fall of snow.


The torn photo below features a Ballard Avenue street scene during the 1916 snow storm. Jeweler’s street clock on left. Trolley. Ballard City Hall and bell tower can be seen in the background.


The below photo features Market St under snow in 1900.


Do you have an amazing photo of Ballard in the winter? Email it to

Photos courtesy of Ballard Historical Society

Ballard Historical Society’s Classic Home Tour on this Sunday


Ballard Historical Society will host their popular Classic Home Tour this Sunday, June 26, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The self-guided tour will take attendees to eight vintage Ballard homes built between 1892-1934.

“Go back to an era of solid craftsmanship, beauty, and style. See how an older home can thoughtfully integrate necessary updates while still embracing the scale and period in which it was built,” says Leonor Colbert from Ballard Historical Society.

The Ballard Classic Home Tour is the Ballard Historical Society’s biggest fundraiser. Funds raised allow the Society to take part in community projects, present free informative lectures related to Ballard’s History and maintain their extensive archives.

Locals can purchase $20 tickets online from Brown Paper Tickets or at the following local retailers (cash or check only): Ballard Public Green MarketSecret Garden Bookshop and Scandinavian Specialties.

Day of Tour Ticket sales and will-call will be open at 9:30 a.m. at Home Tour Headquarters, the Sunset Hill Community Clubhouse (3003 NW 66th St).

The tour does require walking and climbing stairs. Organizers apologize that the tour is not ADA compliant.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Historical Society.

Ballard History Walks kick off for the Summer

Ballard History Walks are on again this summer and the next one is set for this Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

This week’s walk is titled “Banks, boarding houses and brothels on Ballard Avenue (pictured below in 1900)???” and will start at Bergen Place Park (5429 22nd Ave NW).

ballard ave
The tours are hosted by local group Ballard History Review and partial proceeds benefit Ballard Historical Society.

Tour tickets cost $15 per person and reservations can  be made via call or text to (206) 504-0916 (limited to 15 people).

Photo courtesy of Ballard Historical Society. 

Mapping Historic Ballard Project celebration set for Saturday


The team at Ballard Historical Society is excited to announce that their Mapping Historic Ballard project is almost complete.

After a citizen-sourced effort to map and survey all the pre-1965 structures north of the commercial district they have found over 2500 structures (out of 7307) with high level historic integrity.

Funds provided by a Small and Simple grant from the Department of Neighborhoods allowed over 70 volunteers to be trained in Geographic Information Science mapping and digital historic research.

The project, Mapping Historic Ballard: Shingletown to Tomorrow, will reveals its findings and celebrate the project at a public event this Saturday, June 4, at Sunset Hill Community Association Clubhouse (3003 NW 66th St) from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The event will include an exhibit gallery and a presentation about the process of surveying, selecting and then researching the top 159 homes and buildings.

Refreshments and entertainment will also be provided.

Learn more and RSVP on their Facebook page.

Locals invited to “dig deeper” at Historic Seattle event

Locals are invited to learn more about Ballard’s past at the Digging Deeper event next Saturday, May 7, from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Sunset Hill Community Association (3003 NW 66th St).

The Digging Deeper series is Historic Seattle’s multi-session program designed to provide attendees with behind-the-scenes insight to primary research materials in the many archives and libraries in Seattle and King County. This program helps local residents to explore buildings, architecture, and history.

Attendees will have a chance to learn more about our neighborhood which was in fact its own city between 1890 and 1907. The first settlement was established in Ballard in 1852, the same year settlers arrived in Seattle.

Development then proceeded slowly until railroad entrepreneurs Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman (remembered now with the Burke-Gilman Trail) assembled a large tract in 1888 for a new community.

At the event, Ballard Historical Society representatives will discuss their archives and how to access them, Anne Frantilla from the Seattle Municipal Archives will also discuss the Ballard records housed at the Seattle Municipal Archives.

“Learn how Ballard got its name, when/why the railroad came through Ballard, and many more fun facts about this unmistakable Scandinavian community in Seattle,” says Luci Baker Johnson from Historic Seattle.

All are invited to attend the event. Cost is $10 for general public members and $8 for members of Historic Seattle. Registration is available online.

Throwback Thursday: March in years gone by

Today, we wanted to search through the Ballard Historical Society photo archives for some photos of the neighborhood taken in the month of March in years gone by!

The below photo, taken in March 1908, shows two vessels being built at Cooke and Lake Boat Building Yard.


This photo was taken on March 20, 1914, and shows views of Ballard and the Ballard Railroad Bridge.


The below photo shows a large ship passing under the Ballard Bridge on March 13, 1918.


The below photo, taken on March 26, 1944. Features the Salmon Bay fishing fleet.


Photo and information courtesy of Ballard Historical Society.

Throwback Thursday: Local Police and Fire Departments of yesteryear

This week the My Ballard team wanted to take a look back at the police and fire departments that served the neighborhood back in the day.


A group of policeman on horseback riding down a Ballard street in 1905.


Police marching in the May 17th Parade back in 1910.


The Ballard Police Station Force in front of Ballard City Hall in 1907, with their small dog.


A SFD crew outside Seattle Fire Station 18 at 5429 Russell Ave (current site of Hi-Life) in 1922.


A fireman atop the roof of the burning Seattle Cedar Mill at Salmon Bay in 1958.

Photos courtesy of Ballard Historical Society.

Ballard remembers the 1962 World’s Fair

This coming Wednesday, take a stroll down memory lane with a Ballard Historical Society-sponsored event at the Sunset Hill Community Center (3003 NW 66th St).

The authors of the new book, “The Future Remembered: The 1962 World’s Fair and Its Legacy,” will give a free slide show presentation at 7 p.m.

The closing ceremonies.
From page 197:

Beginning of the End As evening drew near, many fairgoers made their way to Memorial Stadium. News reporters had already been given scripts of the closing ceremonies, written by Public Relations Director Jay Rockey and Special Events Assistant C. David Hughbanks. On headsets, Hughbanks and Operations and Services Assistant Mindy Kobbervig began issuing directions to the backstage crew. Live television coverage was starting, even before sundown. Soon 13,000 people filled the grandstands, and thousands more watched from the small hill west of the stadium. At 5 o’clock, the World’s Fair Band, led by Jackie Souders, took to the field.
The Seattle Police Department drill team performed precision maneuvers. Then came the marching bands of every high school in the city, drum majors strutting and twirlers tossing their batons into the darkening sky. Dignitaries representing the fair, city, state, congressional delegation, and every nation that had participated in Century 21 were ferried onto the field in Electricabs (electric pedicabs), and they gathered on a platform at the west end of the field. Metropolitan Opera star and Spokane native Patrice Munsel sang “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Committed to History Joe Gandy stepped to the microphone and told of the great achievement that was now ending, noting that although the fair would fade into memory, it resulted in “a new cause, a new era of great dreams and great realities for our Pacific Northwest.” The audience joined in silent prayer. Mayor Clinton then spoke of the city’s pride in taking part in the closing ceremonies of “our world’s fair.” At the east end of the field, a bank of fireworks displaying Mount Rainer, a fir tree, and the Century 21 logo lit up.

Authors Paula Becker and Alan J. Stein will have the book for sale at the event. (Photos courtesy the Museum of History and Industry.)

Group wants to automate Ballard’s bell

The old bell in the bell tower at Marvin’s Garden Park has been silent for years. In fact at the most recent Ballard District Council meeting, no one could recall it ringing regularly. The Ballard Historical Society wants to change that. The group has applied for a Small and Simple grant through the city to automate the bell and already has $18,000 in volunteer pledges.

This Saturday is the kickoff event for the “Bring the Ring Back” campaign. At 2:15 p.m. the bell will ring to celebrate Bertha Davis’ 97th birthday. As a lifelong Ballardite (who taught at Webster school for 50 years), she wants this project completed.

If the group gets funding to automate the bell, it can be programmed, for instance, to ring everyday at noon. The bell can also be used for special occasions such as the start of the 17th of May Parade, Seafood Fest and other community activities.

You can read more about the bell here (.pdf).