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A community northwest of the main business area of Seattle east of Shilshole Bay and north of the ship canal in King County. It was once separate town but was annexed to Seattle in 1907. Before the turn of the century, and for some years afterward, the Ballard shore of Salmon Bay was lined with sawmills and shingle mills. It was named for Capt. William Rankin Ballard, who bought several hundred acres there in 1882.

At one time the settlement was called Salmon Bay City. In 1887, an 800-acre tract called Gilman Park Addition was platted on adjoining ground by West Coast Improvement Company. The name of Ballard was confirmed by the state legislature to avoid confusion in existing names, and was incorporated as Ballard in 1890.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Ballard Avenue Historic District

The Ballard Avenue Historic District is significant to the City of Seattle as a well-preserved commercial section of a Historic neighborhood community. Homesteaded as early as 1853, platted and promoted by the West Coast Improvement Company 1887-1889, and incorporated as a municipality in 1890, Ballard was one of the largest and most successful townsite developments which surrounded Seattle in the early days. Its juxtaposition to a hinterland of timber resources and its ready Access to world markets via railroad and Puget Sound led to its success. By 1895, Ballard was one of the largest shingle-manufacturing centers in the world. Buildings along Ballard’s Historic Main Street date from two major periods of growth between 1890 and 1930. The four-block Ballard Avenue Landmark District was the first historic district created by the City of Seattle outside of Pioneer Square.

Chittenden Locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal

By making a continuous waterway of man-made channels and inland bodies extending nearly eight miles between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, the Lake Washington Ship Canal opened up a cast fresh-water harbor to ocean-going vessels and thus complemented Seattle’s deep-water port facilities in Elliot Bay. The workable plan for the canal and locks was delineated and promoted by Major Hiram M. Chittenden, Seattle District Engineer 1906-1908 and realized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1917.