Image: The Old Ballard House

The Old Ballard House

As I walk around Queen Anne here in Seattle, there is one house that always intrigues me- the Ballard House. It’s slightly down Highland Drive from Kerry Park and worth admiring if you are in the area.

According to History.org, “Martin D. Ballard (1832-1907) arrived in the Northwest across the Oregon Trail in 1852. After living in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, Ballard settled in Seattle in 1882. In 1885, he organized the Seattle Hardware Co. and he helped found the National Bank of Commerce.

Ballard built his home on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill where other prosperous Seattle residents were taking advantage of the sweeping views of the city and of Elliott Bay. The house was designed by architects Emil deNeuf and Augustus Heide in the Colonial/Georgian Revival style. One of Ballard’s neighbors was Seattle Daily Times publisher Alden Blethen (1845-1915).

Ballard died in 1907. His widow sold the house in 1911 to U.S. District Court Judge George Donworth (d. 1911). The judge remodeled the house, but died before he could move in. His law partner, James B. Howe (1860-1930) bought the house for $25,000.

Howe’s widow was devastated by the Great Depression and she was forced to sell the house in 1932, for $5,000. At that time, the building was converted into five apartments (a 6th apartment is in the carriage house). Architect H.A. Moldenhour took care to blend the new wings into the existing structure. The front of the house remained much as it did in 1901.

The house was declared a Seattle Landmark on May 14, 1979, because it embodied distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style. It was one of the few remaining examples of the grand colonial style homes built at the turn of the twentieth century.”

If you would like to see it up close and personal,
Martin D. Ballard House – 22 West Highland Drive, Seattle.

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