What happens when you find oral histories from early Ballardites on tape cassettes in a basement, and decide they need to become part of a multi-media map? Tune in on February 17, 2022 at 7:00 pm to find out. This is an online event, access link HERE.
In 2019, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board considered the nomination of West Woodland Elementary School (5601 4th Avenue NW) and while the school building didn’t make the cut, the community has benefited from the review process.
The landmark nomination process produces a report that includes a physical description of the building, object, or site, and information on its history, current and historic photos, site plans, maps, drawings, and more. You can learn more about the nomination and designation process here.
The report contains a snapshot of the West Woodland Neighborhood, and a general overview of both Ballard and Phinney Ridge histories. While you will recognize many of the photos included, there are several that you might not have seen before. Two such photos are included on page A-48 and show NW 55th Street (looking west). Do you recognize the locations? Please reach out, this might be a future “Now & Then” opportunity for me to investigate.
Have a story or photo to share?
You’re invited to submit your West Woodland Neighborhood stories and photographs. Memories will be shared on Vintage West Woodland for neighbors to enjoy! Interested in participating in this project? Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for supporting this project!
The Seattle Municipal Archives Photograph Collection is a time machine of sorts, providing Seattleites with the ability to look back in time at their city, neighborhood, and block. I browse the archives for fun, looking at old photos, maps, and other city documents that are available online, that is how I came across the photos for this post. I had seen them several times, but never investigated further because the description provided by the city was limited to the following:
That was it. No address or other indication of location was provided. Armed with the plat name, I went to work locating the approximate address of the photos you’ll see below. I was surprised to find that these photos were of homes on Market Street, between 6th & 7th Ave NW. When you think of Market, you don’t think “residential street”, you think noise, big trucks, and traffic! These photos paint a different picture of Market and it looks rather quiet.
The photos were part of a petition to the city, by Belanger and Belanger, asking that two parcels located in Block 2 of Ballard’s Addition to Gilman Park be rezoned. The request is dated January 26, 1953, which was four years after the Ballard – UW Extension, also known as the Ballard Spur, was created in 1949.
Ballard’s Addition to Gilman Park is a plat name provided by a long forgotten frontier developer, and block 2, which was reference by the city, is circled in red on the Kroll Map. This plat is made up of 10 blocks in the heart of the West Woodland Neighborhood, bordered by Market Street to the north, NW 50th Street to the south, and between 8th Ave NW & 3rd Ave NW.
The city denied the Belanger’s request for a rezone that year. I wasn’t able to find what zoning the Belanger’s were requesting, or why their request was denied. More to hunt down later. Enjoy the Market Street views circa 1953.
About Plat Names:
Plats in Seattle have unique names provided by the land owner. So while you may live on the west side of Phinney, your plat name may be something Ballard related. Most plat names in our area were assigned during the land grab between the City of Ballard & City of Seattle, and owners may have chosen names to show where their allegiance lie.
In 1895, one frontier neighbor even went so far as to deed the City of Ballard a huge chunk on land on the west side of Phinney Hill. This parcel later became Greenwood Park, see Baist Map of 1905 below. Today, there’s just a sliver of this park remaining – Greenwood Triangle Park.
A plat is a section of surveyed land that the owner has created a plan for, including lot sizes and identifying where they believe streets will be. A plat document is used for construction purposes, filing for permits with the city, and showing to prospective buyers. The document shows how the area will be developed for personal use or lots sold for home building, but it does not mean that the area is already developed with basic infrastructure like roads. Sometimes items shown on plat documents are for future planning purposes and they currently only exist on paper. Something to consider when looking at old documents.
You may find that you live in a plat called “Steel Works Addition” or “Salmon Bay City”, both on the west side of Phinney Hill. Remember those are not neighborhood names, they are simply names assigned to a specific chunk of land by the property owner. You can learn about Seattle’s current plat process available HERE.
One Final Shot of Market Street:
This photo was taken 2 years after the photos above, in 1955, and was part of the file created to document the completion of the Market Street Widening project. Look closely at the right hand side of this photo, you can see the mid-century house that was once on the lot Belanger wanted to rezone. There are several other data points you can compare & connect with the photos above. I won’t point them all out – enjoy the hunt!
The summer of 2014 will be remembered because of beautiful blue skies and extreme temperatures. On one of those sultry summer days, I was busy in the attic space at Grace Fellowship Church (now Calvary Ballard Church), digging through dusty files, old hymnals, and boxes full of Christmas decor. I had contacted Steve Nelson, the Minister of Grace Fellowship, just a week prior asking if he could share a bit about the churches history. Steve was kind enough to visit with me in his office and allowed me access to the building, to photograph and dig up any juicy bits of history that might be hidden away.
The NE corner of 5th Ave NW and NW 62nd wasn’t always a parking lot. In the 1940s it was once home to the Northwest Church of Christ. The church sold the building to the Southern Baptist Church on July 20,1952 for $9,500 and the name was changed to the Woodland Baptist Church.
By the 1960s, the congregation had grown to over 300 members and more space was needed. The new church, which sits at 410 NW 62nd, was built in 1968 one parcel to the east of the original building. The original church was torn down in 1968 and the lot has been used for parking since that time. In 1999, the congregation voted to change the name of their church from Woodland Baptist Church to Grace Fellowship in order to better reflect their mission in the community.
In the “Then” photo below you see the home that once occupied the lot where Grace Fellowship is located. Behind the home was an accessory structure that had been converted into an apartment and rented as a “1/2” address.
Steve shared with me that the congregation built the current church with their own hands and used their own money. They broke ground before their plans had been finalized and raised needed funds through special church collections, loans, and selling at least one church van. The interior of the church was never completely finished. Spaces that would not be used on a regular basis are still “mud and taped”, no paint on the walls.The church also owns a parsonage, where Steve and his family live. Located right around the corner at 6208 5th Ave NW, the home was originally a duplex built in 1944. Steve’s family pet is one very talkative bird, which you will often hear while walking by.
Authors Note: This post was originally written in September 2014. Pastor Steve Nelson of Grace Fellowship Church passed away in October 2015. Steve moved to Seattle, WA in 1969, and became a parishioner at Woodland Baptist Church. In 1986, he became the worship leader, and in 2001 he became the pastor of the church where he served until his death. Additional photos and information about Steve available HERE.
The Woodland Theater, built in 1926, was one of the last silent movie theaters built in Seattle. “Talkies” were already growing in popularity and by the 1930’s many theaters in the US were showing movies that no longer needed subtitles or a house organ for entertainment. When this 600 seat theater was built a Kimball Pipe Organ was also installed. The organ was the “special effects” for the Woodland Theater and provided accompaniment during the movies and concerts between showings.
While shops have come and gone along NW 65th and buildings have been razed, the old Woodland Theater continues to live on. The theater building is currently in use as a concert venue called The Josephine, and as a print shop, storage & practice space. The old Kimball pipe organ continues to live on as well and is currently in use at the Everett Theater (2911 Colby Ave, Everett).
About the photos below:
When comparing the two photos, you can see that the entrance façade has undergone several cosmetic changes. The “Now” photos shows a stone façade that was added in the mid 1950’s. The entrance was closed in at a later date, but the roof line has stayed the same. In the wide view “Now” photo, you can see that the theater seating area, or the “house”, is behind a row of store fronts which have all been converted into one business, Advanced Sign Design.
There were two movies showing the day the “Then” photo was taken in 1932, Ladies of the Jury and Broken Wing. The “Then” photo also shows a confectionery to the west of the theater, which is now home to Molly Maguire’s.
The Woodland Theater has survived on NW 65th now for 84 years. During this time the building has been used as a movie theater, an indoor ski park, a medical device maker, print shop and concert venue. The building survived water damage in the 1960’s and a fire in the 1970’s. More on these events in a later post.
The black & white photo of the Woodland Theater, circa 1926, courtesy Cinema Treasures.
Peggy’s Bakery opened at 6258 5th Ave NW in the 1930s after Safeway moved across the street into the building once occupied by West Woodland Pharmacy. The pharmacy moved just a short walk up the street, to 618 NW 65th Street.
The owner of Peggy’s Bakery was Karl Fickeisen and he named the bakery in honor of his wife Peggy. Vern Vellat, former neighbor and West Woodland School Alumni class of 1941, told me that the aroma coming from Peggy’s was “heavenly”, more than any other bakery he has ever known. Vern’s classmate, Marilyn Sherman, grew up in the house just south of Peggy’s Bakery and would often remark that “heaven couldn’t smell better” than Peggy’s Bakery.
Peggy’s Bakery drew customers from all over NW Seattle. Many would pass by their local bakery to pick up their bread, cakes and other treats at Peggy’s. In 1959 Bill Fickeisen, son of Karl and Peggy, closed Peggy’s Bakery because he was hired by Safeway Corporation to help create the in-store bakeries that we see today.
This building is now home to Seattle Floor Service. Check out the barber’s pole on the left side of the picture. This location is now home to the soon-to-open “The Partakery”, Ballard’s newest recreational marijuana shop. (Author’s Note: The Partakery opened on 04/17/2016. The delay was caused by city permit issues.)
The black and white photo of Peggy’s Bakery is dated 1937, and comes to us courtesy of the Puget Sound Archives.