Last spring Seattle residents learned from the Seattle Times that the Ballard Carnegie Library building was for sale by long-time owner, Karoline Morrison. It came to our attention that this building did not have the City of Seattle’s Landmark Designation, which would protect the structure from tear down or major renovation.
We learned the building had been nominated in 1977 by local historical architect Larry Johnson. Somehow the nomination report was overlooked and was never scheduled for designation hearings before the City of Seattle Landmarks and Preservation Board. Many in the community assumed the iconic building had the city’s landmark designation all of this time.
Last fall the Ballard Historical Society joined forces with Mr. Johnson and re-submitted the Landmark Nomination to the City of Seattle. Here’s an excerpt from the nomination report’s Building History section:
The Ballard Carnegie Library is significant historically as a community cultural and education center for the Scandinavian immigrants who settled the area. Architecturally the building exhibits an eclectic charm through its assemblage of roughly Italian classical details. The library also has the distinction of being Seattle’s oldest extant library building, having narrowly escaped demolition at least twice. The Ballard Free Public Library served the community as a library from June 24, 1904 to its replacement by a new facility on June 7, 1963. Since 1903, the building has become an accepted visual feature in the community.
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