Historic Preservation

Ballard resident John Barker has a thing for projects, especially fixing up old houses. He has restored Magnolia homes from 1906 and 1928, a 1900s farmhouse, and a number of old homes in Bellevue.

Barker has now set his sights on a the large 1909 house on the corner of Northwest 68th Street and 30th Avenue Northwest, which he purchased in December.

Barker said decided on the house because he wanted to be near Ballard High School for his 16-year-old daughter and his offices at Barker Landscape Architects, which recently worked on Ballard Corners Park.

The site has a nice view, good sunlight and is a blank slate in terms of landscaping, plus it is a buyer's market, he said.

"It was the right location and the right project," he said.

Barker said he hasn't been able to locate the original building permit with the architect and first owner yet, but the house was part of the Jennings Addition to Ballard in the early 1900s.

He said be believes a welder lived in the house in the 1960s, which may have resulted in a lot of the metal work on the interior.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

John Barker poses with a historical photo of the the 1909 Ballard house he bought in December and plans to restore. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE CURRENT HOUSE AND BARKER'S PLANS FOR IT.

Speaker at Log House Museum

Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, public historian at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, will talk from her new book: Warship under Sail, The USS Decatur in the Pacific West, published by the University of Washington Press. Admission is free although donations are always appreciated. Books will be available for purchase.


Log House Museum
3003 61st Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA
Phone: 938-5293

Ruth Nelson, who moved to Ballard after World War II and lived in her Sunset Hill home for six decades, lived a life of adventure that took her all over the globe. But at the end of the day, she found there is simply no place like Ballard.

Nelson grew up in a family of Kansas farmers. She said life there was far different than one in Ballard.

"We have no trees in Kansas," she said. "But, it has its beauty."

Nelson was a teacher during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. She said she remembers sweeping dirt and snakes out of the classroom every morning before the students arrived.

During World War II, Nelson worked in a Denver factory making bullets. President Roosevelt personally visited the factory one day to thank the workers for their help, she said.

"They brought him in on a big flatbed," Nelson said. "There sat Roosevelt with his hat on and his cloak with his cigarette in his hand and his little dog."

After the war, Nelson headed west for adventure, settling in Ballard, she said.

When she arrived in Ballard, it was almost entirely Scandinavian, she said.

"It was a delightful village," Nelson said. "I called it a village."

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Ruth Nelson, who lived in Ballard for more than 60 years, says she has travelled the world and found Ballard stacks up with the best of it.

By Sally Clark, Seattle City Council

This column originally appeared in the December issue of Sally Clark's newsletter "City View."

At the end of my first two years chairing the Seattle City Council’'s Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, I feel a little like I'’m renovating a house with a limited set of plans. I mostly pick up a hammer and try to use common sense.

I hear from plenty of people who tell me they have the best house plan and that I should use their instructions.

For some people, no change is the right change. For others, the change can'’t be grand enough.

Re-zone, upzone, incentivize, landmark, retain, bulk up, slim down, reward, charge, bonus, demolish, protect…. Everyone has a position and a stake in what happens across the street and across town.

As 2009 comes to a close, I can say I am proud of the work we’'ve done over the past two years with neighborhoods, developers, affordability advocates, historic preservation advocates, greeners, smart city staffers and others to make at least a few smart decisions.

– Backyard cottages are a good and modest step for housing variety and affordability.


Experts and other observers converged on the Alki Homestead Inn Friday, Dec. 4, for an inspection to evaluate both the fire damage, and aging condition, of the historic landmark structure’s interior and exterior. An electrical fire struck the 1906 structure Jan. 16.

The Landmarks Preservation Board, an entity of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, is the only entity with jurisdiction over the property and is very close to determining its future, whether the log structure should be repaired, or, if the damage is too extensive, torn down. Members of the Board, including volunteers of its Architectural Revue Board Sub-committee, wanted a closer look at the Inn after studying its structural engineering and contractor reports, and over 200 photographs.

Stella Chow, director, Department of Neighborhoods, was on hand simply to observe, she said. Beth Chave, coordinator, Landmarks Preservation Board, attended with colleague, Elaine Wine, the former chairman of the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board. They joined about a dozen other interested parties at the site for the tour, guided by Mark Fritch, a log home designer and carpenter who drove up from Sandy, Oregon.

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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Log home builder and contractor Mark Fritch leads a delegation of experts and observers through the fire-damaged Alki Homestead Inn. Members of the Landmarks Board, a Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods entity, inspected the property Dec. 4 and will soon determine the structure is salvageable. Owner, Tom Lin, pictured on far right.

Limited quantity available for sale

With the disbanding of the Seattle Statue of Liberty Plaza Project the responsibility for the area was turned over to Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR).
SPR has recently concluded an agreement with the Alki Community Council (ACC) allowing the Council to sponsor the sale of additional engraved bricks and Tribute Plaques. The ACC will also be the organization working with the community to coordinate the future maintenance of the Plaza with Parks.

The news release from the Alki Community Council reads:

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

More bricks and tribute plaques will be available at the Liberty Plaza on Alki.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will review controls and incentives for the historic 80-year-old Sanctuary at Admiral, located at 2656 42nd Ave. S.W., on Nov. 4.

Now used as a reception hall, the building was originally the Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist. Built in 1929, the church held its first service on Jan. 1, 1930 and was dedicated on Feb. 8, 1942.

See related story here.

Architect Gerald C. Field designed a building that is considered Art Deco style, with formal geometry and diverse brickwork patterns. It was built by Niel McDonald and construction costs totaled $37,000.

The Church of Christian Scientist was started in 1875 with the publication of “Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures,” by church founder Mary Baker Eddy. According to the building’s landmark nomination, the Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist came to West Seattle as a need for religious services grew along with the population grew.

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Photo credit: 
Rose Egge

On Nov. 4, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will review controls and incentives on the Sanctuary at Admiral, now a historic building.

The Seattle City Council voted July 6 to name the West Seattle Bridge to honor Jeanette Williams, the longtime city council member who worked for many years to get the bridge built.

The council unanimously approved a resolution asking the city transportation department to give the bridge a "secondary designation" as the "Jeanette Williams Memorial Bridge." That means Williams wil be honored with signs at each end of the bridge, but maps and signs on Interstate 5 will still call it the West Seattle Bridge.

Williams served on the council from 1970 to 1989. She died last year at age 94.

"It feels great to have a bridge named for a woman," said council member Jean Godden after her speech at the event to honor Williams Friday, Oct. 23. "This is very appropriate. She did persevere to get a high level bridge. At first I don't think anyone thought it was going to happen the way she wanted it too. She had a great deal of gumption."

"She was uncorruptible, determined, and had the will to do it," added council member Tom Rassmussen who had also given a speech. "There were a lot of shenanigans going on back then. The engineering department director went to jail."

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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Rusty Williams and wife Peggy hold a highway sign to honor Rusty's mother, Jeanette, a former Seattle City Council member who died one year ago. They stand under the West Seattle Bridge, a project she was instrumental on getting built.

Dear Editor,

When Alki was a different place

Where life walked at a slower pace

And didn’t wear designer shoes

Or live in condos that ate views

We knew as children of the beach

As soon as our small feet would reach

The porch of Alki’s old Homestead

Much more than food we’d all be fed

The place was lit by candlelight

Where every table dressed just right

Wore linen napkins, lacy cloth

And even spoons for sipping broth

The old log walls we loved so well

Were steeped in tales they’d never tell

And though despite their silent state

We’d make up stories while we ate

The food did not come all at once

Instead they’d serve us every bunch

In courses separate from the rest

Fried chicken was the very best

The Homestead’s where we always went

For any family tree event

It’s there a menu first I read

And where I saw my sister wed

Despite whatever name they find

To hide their dreary plans behind

No trendy spa or inn I know

Could match the Homestead we loved so

Bed and breakfast, lounge and spa also planned for landmarked property

Residents anticipating the historic Alki Homestead restaurant's re-opening will have to wait a little longer. Alki Homestead’s owner Tom Lin unveiled plans at the Sept. 17 Alki Community Center meeting to reconstruct the historic structure following a Jan. fire.

Lin also explained how a bed and breakfast, a lounge-style bar and a spa might also come to occupy the 15,000 square foot property.

An investigation following the fire uncovered so much damage to the 100-year-old landmark—much of it related to the building’s age—that Lin presented reconstruction as the viable option over restoration.

While many of the original logs still rest in the same places as they did during the first decade of the twentieth century, many also do not. Rot and bug damage during the past 100 years displaced or rotted a majority of the timber.

Lin stressed reconstruction as the best option in lieu of restoration.

“People don’t want to lose Alki Homestead,” he said.

Photo credit: 
Andrew Doughman

Alki Homestead owner, Tom Lin, proposed to reconstruct rather than renovate the building during an Alki Community Council meeting Sept. 17. The property could host a new bed and breakfast, lounge and spa.

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