Ballard annexed into Seattle 111 years ago

On May 29, 1907, Ballard officially became part of Seattle.

Ballard was the second-largest city in King County — with about 17,000 residents in 1906 — when troubles over the city’s water supply led to a historic vote to become annexed by the city of Seattle.

“The Ballard water system was no prize,” explains an entry in HistoryLink by Alan J. Stein. “An analysis of the water in 1908 found that it contained a large amount of decomposing organic matter, and that it was potable only if thoroughly boiled.”

On annexation day, Ballard City Hall was draped in black. While city hall is now gone, the bell remains, hanging in the Old Ballard bell tower.

By the way, the annexation vote was somewhat close: 996 in favor to 874 against. That adds up to just 11% of the total population that voted.

(Photo from the Seattle Municipal Archives. Our earlier aerial photo, despite being date-stamped as 1900, was from a later era. Thanks to everyone for pointing this out.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

13 thoughts to “Ballard annexed into Seattle 111 years ago”

    1. Lol, “here’s some old timey photo of ballard we will put with this story if it fits or not” Golden Age of journalism!

  1. Ahh, the old “Ballard was always filthy” canard. Why not mention the famous “fisherman’s brawl” outside the Twilight Hotel in 1947 to downplay the violent tweaker hobo invasion?

  2. The photo of Salmon Bay is after 1900 by about 20-30 years. The photo shows lots of cars. The first Ford Model T was introduced in 1908.

  3. Seattle provides water to most of the suburban areas of King County, yet it has been unable to annex them. When did State law change to protect them from what happened to Ballard?
    When China began its process of assimilating Hong Kong the city’s immediate problem was its water supply. Hong Kong got 50 years to transition; Ballard got, what, a week?

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