“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ballard in King County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)

Ballard Avenue Landmark District Historic Marker Project

Ballard Avenue Landmark District Historic Marker Project Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Ann Bugajsky, February 20, 2010
1. Ballard Avenue Landmark District Historic Marker Project Marker
Inscription.  The Ballard Avenue Landmark District holds a significant place in Seattle history. The uniquely-preserved state of Ballard Avenue provides visitors with a window into the heyday of Ballard’s industrial and commercial era.

The City of Ballard was incorporated in 1889 and functioned as an independent municipality for the next 16 years. The city’s early economy was driven by lumber mills. By 1896, Ballard was known as the “Shingle Mill Capital of the World.” The Salmon Bay shoreline, from the Ballard Bridge to the present-day location of the Ballard Locks, was home to 18 lumber and shingle mills. A nascent fishing fleet was also developing to harvest halibut and salmon off the Washington Coast.

Many unsuccessful attempts to maintain an independent water system resulted in Ballard’s annexation to Seattle. When a 1906 Washington Supreme Court ruling awarded Seattle exclusive rights to the Cedar River watershed, city leaders concluded that annexation to Seattle was the best solution. After months of heated discussion, on May 29, 1907, the annexation measure passed by a narrow margin of 122 votes.

In response
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to the prosperity generated by the thriving mill district, Ballard Avenue quickly became a busy commercial district serving the needs of the milling and fishing industries. Services ranged from industrial equipment and supplies to banks, bard, and boarding houses. Businesses offering commercial goods, lodging and entertainment were established. The architectural landscape of Ballard Avenue in 1880s and 1890s was very different from its current appearance. Prosperous business owners replaced the original simple wooden structures with the handsome brick and masonry buildings that make up this historic district. The dirt street with boardwalks was eventually paved and street lighting was installed.

While Ballard has existed as a City of Seattle neighborhood for more than a century, the community’s residents – old-timers and newcomers alike – have a strong identification with, and devotion to , Ballard’s unique history and traditions. The spirit of independence and loyalty still resonates. The installation of these historical markers on Ballard Avenue enables residents and visitors to interact with the rich history of the once City of Ballard. The plaques also highlight the protected status of Ballard Avenue, which was designated a City and National Landmark District in the mid-1970s.
Erected 2007 by Ballard Historical
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Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is May 29, 1907.
Location. 47° 40.076′ N, 122° 23.094′ W. Marker is in Ballard, Washington, in King County. Marker is at the intersection of 22nd Avenue NW and Ballard Avenue NW on 22nd Avenue NW. Located in Marvin's Garden. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Seattle WA 98107, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ballard Avenue Historic District / Ballard City Hall Bell (a few steps from this marker); Mural at Bergen Place (within shouting distance of this marker); Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seattle Fisherman's Memorial (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lenin in Fremont (approx. 2 miles away); The Fremont Troll (approx. 2.1 miles away); Fremont Bridge (approx. 2.2 miles away); You're Now a Part of History (approx. 3.1 miles away).
More about this marker. The location, 22nd Avenue Northwest and Ballard Avenue Northwest, is where the Ballard City Hall once stood. It's now known as Marvin's Garden, a tiny park named after Marvin Sjoberg, a local character who died in 1989.
Regarding Ballard Avenue Landmark District Historic Marker Project. The Ballard Historical Society created 28 12” by 16” Historic Markers for buildings in the Ballard Avenue Landmark District. The inspiration for this project was to bring recognition to Ballard’s City protected old commercial center: Ballard Avenue. Each maker displays an historic photograph, a caption of the property’s history and the date built.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 25, 2010, by Kathy Ann Bugajsky of Seattle, Washington. This page has been viewed 1,121 times since then and 5 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on February 21, 2010, by Kathy Ann Bugajsky of Seattle, Washington. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide area picture of the marker and its surroundings. • Separate HMdb entries for the other 27 Historical Markers along Ballard Avenue. • Can you help?

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Apr. 11, 2021