Historic Preservation

Nostalgic about the “good old days” of school and youth sports in the Highline area?

Then the Highline Historical Society has a free program for you on Sunday, Nov. 20 at SeaTac City Hall, 4800 S. 188th St.

From 2-4 p.m., a special panel will reminisce about Highline sports.

Panelists include retired Tyee baseball coach Walt Edmiston, former Tyee girls swimming coach Kaija Lietuvietis, church-league basketball writer Phyllis Mitchell and Highline Little League coach Gordon Shaw.
Former Highline School District Superintendent Kent Matheson will moderate.

Historical society panel to recall Highline sports

1932 Highline High School basketball champions, courtesy Highline Historical Society

By Michael Miller

On a recent visit to the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle I was saddened to see that yet another landmark has disappeared. The Totem House, Seafood and Chowder, Family recipes since 1948, has given up the fight leaving a note on their door stating, 

“Goodbye friends, 
 the economy has overtaken us, we will miss you greatly!”

Four people signed the note.

It seems to me that more and more funky sites are morphing into condominiums, apartment houses and most unbelievably into - out of state banks bearing names foreign to the local tongue. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan Bank have replaced Peoples Bank, Rainer Bank and Seattle First National Bank, all absorbed by these and other larger institutions.

OPINION: Gone, Gone, Gone!
Photo credit: 
Photo by Michael Miller

Lifetime Ballard resident Allan Wenzel has always been interested in history, so when the old-timers near his family's summer home on Lake Cavanaugh would tell him stories about the history of the lake and nearby Alpine Village, Wenzel would listen.

Now, decades later, Wenzel has used those old-timers' first-hand accounts as the springboard for his newest book, "Alpine on the Lake: A History of the People of Lake Cavanaugh and Alpine Village," the first book ever written on the history of that little-known area in Skagit County.

The book is a history of the people who were associated with the lake and village during the first period of its settlement, 1890 to 1910.

Since he was a baby, Wenzel was captivated by Lake Cavanaugh, which is situated a mile above sea level with mountains on all sides. In the summer, the surface of the water can reach 83 degrees, and in the winter, the one-mile-wide, three-miles-long lake can completely freeze over.

"It's very picturesque," Wenzel said.

Lifetime Ballardite makes history with new book
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Allan Wenzel

Ballardite Allan Wenzel has written the first history of Skagit County's Lake Cavanaugh and Alpine Village.

Event Planned at Rotary Viewpoint Park for 5 pm

The public is invited to join the Rotary Club of West Seattle as they celebrate the return and rededication of West Seattle’s beloved Totem Pole on Tuesday August 10 at 5:00pm.

The totem was recently refurbished and re-installed at The Rotary Viewpoint Park on 35th and Alaska SW. In attendance will be the original carver Robin Young, Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal Chairperson and other dignitaries.

After the ceremony, everyone attending is invited to join the Rotary Club at the West Seattle Golf Course Fox Den Grille.
Refreshments will be available for purchase.

For more information, please contact Shirley Clough at s.clough@comcast.net or 206-293-2773.

totempole CLOSE.jpg
Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

The Rotary Club Totem Pole will be rededicated at Rotary Viewpoint Park on August 10 at 5 PM

As part of the MOHAI Minute series, the Museum of History & Industry released a short video on Ballard's old Carnegie Library earlier this week.

The Carnegie Library was built in 1904 and was one of the first free public libraries, according to the video.

It became a part of the Seattle Public Library system when Ballard was annexed by the city in 1907.

The library, located at 2026 N.W. Market St., was built by Andrew Carnegie, and the community raised money to buy the property through business donations and the selling of library memberships.

The Carnegie Library, which now houses Carnegie's Restaurant, ended its career as a library in 1963.

The Museum of History & Industry, started in 1952 and located in Montlake, focuses on preserving, sharing and teaching the history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the nation.

See video
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The old Carnegie Library on Market Street was profiled in a video by the Museum of History & Industry earlier this week.

The election for members to the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 17 at Lagerquest & Morris, located at 5135 Ballard Ave. N.W.

Absentee voting is available through June 17 at noon at the Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, located at 5604 22nd Ave. N.W. Ballots are available there.

To vote in the election, either by absentee ballot or in person, you must be registered to vote in the district election.

Two seats on the seven-member Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board are currently up for election. Both open positions are two-year terms ending June 30, 2012.

There are two candidates for Position #1, which is reserved for district property owners:

  • Richard Hiner, Hiner Architects, 5337 Ballard Ave. N.W.
  • Robert Whaley, New York Fashion Academy, 5201 Ballard Ave. N.W.

There is one candidate for Position #2, which is reserved for district property owners or businesspersons:

  • James Riggle, 5301 Leary Ave. N.W. (Olympic Athletic Club)

"Everything you need is here," Bryan Johnston said about his 3,500-square-foot, 98-year-old Ballard house. "There is a room for everything."

He isn't kidding.

There is the spacious living room and dining room, complete with fireplace and original woodwork. The sunroom that Bryan's wife Susan used while making calls for the 700 Club and now holds a half-played board game. A former bedroom with its own private stairwell to the kitchen so the children could eat without interrupting their parent's parties. Another former bedroom, now converted into a dressing room with tiered walk-in closet.

Add to the house's interior accommodations and surprises, the views of Puget Sound from second and third-floor balconies and a double lot-sized yard, and it becomes clear that Susan and Bryan Johnston's home isn't just any house.

"The moment you walk in, you feel something," Susan said.

In 1975, Bryan bought the house at 8344 32nd Ave. N.W. from his parents, who had purchased the house in 1943 when Bryan was 6 months old. In 1976, he started redoing the house.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Bryan and Susan Johnston on the porch of their nearly century-old Ballard home, for which both have deep personal connections. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

The nomination period for the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board elections ends at 5 p.m. on June 10.

There are two positions – one for a property owner or business person and one for a business owner – open this election cycle.

To nominate a candidate, the nominator and the nominee must be registered to vote in the district, and the nominee must also sign the nominating form.

Nominations for the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board should be submitted to Lagerquist & Morris, 5135 Ballard Ave. N.W.

Download the attached documents for more information and the nomination form.


As the 97-year-old, 133-foot schooner Adventuress waited to pass through the Ballard Locks May 12, its crew bellowed a collection of sea shanties to entertain those watching.

Adventuress' crew were making a last-ditch effort for a $100,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Partners in Preservation grant program.

The schooner is one of 25 sites in Puget Sound that is eligible for the grant. The winner is determined by online voting, which closes today.

Adventuress is owned by Sound Experience, a Puget Sound-based environmental and youth leadership nonprofit organization founded in 1989. More than 3,000 young people and adults are involved in Sound Experience each year.

Visit www.VotefortheBoat.com to vote for Adventuress and be entered to win a free sailing trip on the schooner.

Adventuress will be open for tours from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. tonight at South Lake Union's Center for Wooden Boats, located at 1010 Valley St.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The crew of Sound Experience's Adventuress sings sea shanties to entertain onlookers as they path through the Ballard Locks May 12. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

In November, the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society launched a contest to find the oldest house in the neighborhood. On Feb. 18, the society announced a winner.

Anna and Scott Sturgeon won the contest with their 1902 Phinney Ridge home.

While their house is not truly the oldest in the neighborhood, the Sturgeons completed the required research, including obtaining their building permit from 1902, and fulfilled the spirit of the contest – researching and treasuring our architectural heritage, the historical society said in a press release.

The Sturgeons received breakfast for two at Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe and an autographed copy of "Seattle's Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood" by Ted Pedersen.

oldest house.jpg
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society

This 1902 Phinney Ridge home is the winner of the Greenwood-Phinney Historical Society's oldest house contest.

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