Throwback Thursday: W 57th St in 1880

It’s that time of the week where we take a look back at the Ballard of yesteryear in our weekly Throwback Thursday post.

This one is definitely and “oldie” but a goodie from all the way back in 1880. Check out the black and white photo below of men, boys and harnessed teams of horses and mules grading the road in the 900 block of what was then W 57th St. Wonder if the work had SDOT approval?

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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.

Throwback Thursday: Ballard Ave circa 1900

Here at My Ballard we love the history of our special neighborhood as much as our readers do and we thought it was high time that we had a weekly post dedicated to it.

So, we jumped on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon to bring you images and stories from a past Ballard before the condos, fast food chains and Ballard Ave hot spots.

Speaking of Ballard Ave, this week we are sharing a photo of Ballard’s favorite Ave back in 1900. The photo below shows the South looking view of Ballard Ave where you can see a few businesses including Ballard Wine Home and W.D. Beg Groceries, Fruit and Provisions. Wonder if they had Happy Hour?


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.

Seattle Public Schools tweets historic photo of BHS class

Seattle Public Schools tweeted a fantastic and historic photo (posted below) of a class at Ballard High School circa 1915.


The girls may reveal Seattle’s obsession with coffee in their science class at Ballard High School!

Have you got an amazing photo at BHS or anywhere in Ballard from back in the day? Email in your photos and stories to and we will post them on the blog.

Thanks to SPS for sharing this piece of history with us!

Ballard bell rings to celebrate 97th birthday

Just after 2 p.m., the bell tower in Old Ballard chimed for one of the few times in two decades. The 1600-pound bell rang two short times to to commemorate a special occasion: the 97th birthday of Bertha Davis, a retired elementary school teacher who taught for 50 years at Ballard’s Webster School.

“It was a wonderful thing to hear the bell again,” said Bertha, surrounded by friends and family at the Ballard Landmark. Bertha and the late State Senator Ted Peterson were among a group of Ballard residents who helped bring the bell back to the neighborhood in the late 1980s. After it was vandalized a short time later, the ringing stopped. For years, Bertha has dreamed of bringing it back to the neighborhood. “That’s the spirit of Ballard,” she says.

Bertha and Ballard Historical Society have launched a fundraising campaign to install an automated mechanism that could be programmed to ring the bell at designated times — one suggestion is noon and 6 p.m. every day — as well as for special neighborhood events like Syttende Mai and Seafood Fest. “Everybody is on board to have that bell ring again,” says Peggy Sturdivant with the Ballard Historical Society. “The rallying point was, let’s do it for Bertha’s birthday! She’ll be 97 on Tuesday, so we decided, let it ring!”

Supporters have raised $18,000 and applied for a Small and Simple neighborhood grant with the city. They’re aiming to have everything in place by this summer. “It sounds great, it won’t be an annoyance,” Sturdivant says. “We think it will be a deterrent for the people who sometimes ring it after they leave bars. Automating it will prevent it from being vandalized.”

One hundred people packed into the Ballard Landmark lobby for Bertha’s birthday, eating cupcakes and singing a song for the occasion, “If I had a bell, I’d ring it on Ballard Avenue, I’d ring it every evening, all over this town…”

“Look at the all people who turned out, my goodness, I’m overwhelmed. It’s just wonderful,” Bertha says with a big grin. “Ballard’s spirit is here, we’ve got it!”

A glimpse at the Ballard of yesteryear

Back in spring of 2008, a new design firm called “Stoke” moved into the old Bob’s Ballard TV shop at 24th Ave NW and NW 59th St.

This morning, Dave emailed us to say that they are busy remodeling the inside of the old building. “In the course of our work, we came-across a classic photo of old Ballard. We thought your readers might enjoy/recall 24th Ave NW — from way back in the day. And while the interior is going to be quite cool, we’re going to keep the exterior original — and the sign stays.”

Mystery time capsule opened

A time capsule that was discovered during the demolition of the old Norway Center building on Queen Anne was opened at Leif Erikson hall on Sunday.

Tom Stang, retired consul of the Royal Norwegian Consulate, offered his memories of the Norway Center to the 100 or so people in attendance. “Friday I drove by the site, which is now just a hole in the ground. I can’t say I was sad, but… it was a lot of memories,” he said, fighting back tears.

A few moments later, Doug Dixon from the Pacific Fishermen’s Shipyard began to hammer away at steel time capsule, which was welded shut. “It seems that our forefathers were serious about having a capsule that would be sealed from any casual attempt to view its contents,” said Russ Oberg, president of Leif Erikson Lodge. The crowd cheered when Dixon was finally able to open the box.

The first object pulled from the capsule was a copy of the Seattle Daily Times from December 29, 1950. “GM Closes 5 Assembly Plants in One Week,” was one of the headlines, which got a chuckle from the crowd.

Also pulled from the steel box was a letter from the Daughters of Norway, several programs from the Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle, the program from the dedication of the Norway Center, a letter explaining the history of Valkyrien Lodge #1, as well as several other newspapers and historical documents. There was not, as some had hoped, anything from Norway Hall, which was built in 1915.

After the event, attendees were able to walk up and inspect the contents of the steel box, a flashback in time for a generation rich in memories.