Ballard Historical Society event set for this month

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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

Throwback Thursday: The “new” Ballard Bridge turns 76

The Ballard Bridge, as we know it today, officially opened on June 8, 1940, so we wanted to celebrate with this week’s Throwback Thursday post.

The first Ballard Bridge, pictured below, opened in December 1917. By 1940, however, the old wooden bridge was considered too dangerous to carry the increased traffic and was replaced by a newer bridge with a higher span.

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The photo below shows the opening day celebrations for the new Ballard Bridge on June 8, 1940.

ballard bridge opening

Photos courtesy of MOHAI.

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: Ballard streets then and now

Our friend Sue over at the Vintage West Woodland blog featured some “then and now” photos of Ballard streets and we wanted to share them with our readers in today’s Throwback Thursday post.

The below photos show a “then and now” view of the area surrounding 1148 NW 54th Street. Originally, Ballard Street Department Barn Number 4 called this address home and can be seen in the below photo, dated 1914.


According to Vintage West Woodland, Street Department Barns were used to house horses, wagons, and tools needed to build the boulevards and byways in our growing city. Piles of muddy planks can be seen in the above photo that may have been pulled from one of Ballard’s muddy lanes.

Sue reports that planked sidewalks and roadways could be seen in our neighborhood until the 1930s, when “large scale paving efforts began in the neighborhood.”

These days, the same address looks wildly different and is home to the back of the recently constructed Koi Apartments (shown in the below photo taken this year).


Thanks again Sue for the photos and the fascinating information.

Throwback Thursday: Then and Now

Today’s Throwback Thursday post, courtesy of our news partners at The Seattle Times, features a glimpse into the past of a home still standing on the corner of 4th Ave NW and NW 60th St.

According to the report, the home was built in the 1890s most likely by carpenter-contractor Rasmus “Robert” Jensen who stands on the front porch in the photo below with his wife, Marie, and their daughter, Anna.


Below you can see Susan Pierce and her son Andy standing in front of the same home today. Pierce and Andy live in the home that stands directly east across Fourth Ave from the former Jensen residence.


Pierce has been documenting the history of the West Woodland area on her blog Vintage West Woodland and via organization’s Facebook page.

Thank you Sue for sharing these photos and information with the My Ballard team. Photos courtesy of MOHAI and The Seattle Times.

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: The February Snow Storm of 1916

With it being the 100th anniversary of the huge February 2 snow storm of 1916, we thought we would take a look back at how Ballard fared that day.

Below is the torn image of the Ballard Ave street scene during the 1916 snow storm. Jeweler’s street clock can be seen on the left and Ballard City Hall and bell tower are in the background.


Below is the view of the Junction Building and the Ballard commercial area street scene during the snow storm.


Below is a postcard showing Ballard Ave. deep in the snow of the 1916 storm. A caption reads, “Record snowfall of 38 inches in Seattle, Wash. Feb 2 and 3 Ballard Ave. facing N.W.”


Check out the KOMO News article to see more photos from around the city that were taken during the 1916 snow storm.

Photos and information courtesy of Ballard Historical Society.

Throwback Thursday: Sunset Hill back in the day

This week, we wanted to take a look back at some photos of Sunset Hill in times gone by. Have more photo? Email

The below photo was taken outside Quality Market on Sunset Hill in 1935.

The view from Sunset Hill Park (7531 34th Ave NW) in 1935. Sunset Hill Park was a gift to Ballard by Mr. and Mrs. Moomaw and Mr. and Mrs. Anderson in 1903.


The below photo of Gilman Park Apartments at the bottom of Sunset Hill (address as seen in the photo as 1505 W 60th St) was taken in 1937. The building is still standing and currently houses Liberty Tax Services and Pasta Bella (pictured below).

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Photo and information courtesy of Ballard Historical Society and Seattle Parks and Recreation.