It’s fun to look at early home pictures, and that’s what we’ll do in this blog post. Thank you, Nancy Chaney, for your research and writing! – Ballardhistory Blog
An early 1900s picture from the Ballard Historical Society’s photo archives provides a telling view of Ballard’s past. The house in the photo stands facing west on the former Denton Avenue, part of the Salmon Bay Park Addition plats. Built in 1900, according to county tax records, the house was one of the first on the block, at least among homes still standing today.
Decorative architectural details on the home’s front porch and at the roof’s gable ends convey the Victorian style popular at the turn of the century. Sadly for fans of these decorative features, Victorian architecture gave way to a series of more modern, less ornamental architectural styles, and many homeowners of the time stripped away so-called “gingerbread” details from their houses.
The two-story barn with large windmill seen behind this home point to Ballard’s agricultural roots. In fact, the tall treetops of Salmon Bay Park are visible behind the barn and according to Ballard Historical Society archives, the park was sometimes referred to as “Cow Park” in the early 20th century. Many families kept a cow and presumably let them graze on park land.
The current photo of the same house shows that residents removed the original front porch at some point in the home’s history. In place of the barn now sits a two-car garage that, according to county tax records, was built in 1981. (The garage faces the side-street and its roof is barely visible in the photo: look to the left of the bright green bush in the neighbor’s yard.) Interested students of Ballard’s history could speculate: Was the barn torn down just prior to construction of the garage? Or did interim structures stand in the same spot? A relatively new metal roof and a recently-constructed fence also reveal how homes evolve over the years, to suit the needs and desires of their owners.
Search our archives on our separate Web site, BallardHistoricalSociety.org.