As the first community to incorporate after Washington achieved statehood in 1890, the original city of Ballard has one of most storied histories in the state.
Bordered by Salmon Bay, the famous Ballard Locks, a bascule bridge, and the Salish Sea, the longtime joke was that one needed a passport to enter. The convergence of protected water and rich forests made Ballard's resources a seasonal draw for the Shilshole branch of the Duwamish tribe and then homesteaders. Dating back to the first claim of 820 acres in 1852, Ballard has weathered waves of development and rare times of bust. Once known as the Shingle Capital of the United States, Ballard saw many of its mills burn, its fishing fleet endure, and its local museum become a national treasure. Ballard always rises again, as did the iconic bell, which graced its city hall before annexation and now anchors the Ballard Avenue Landmark District, from its wildly popular Farmer's Market by day to destination nightlife. Preserving Ballard celebrates what has always kept the community's independent spirit alive.
Formed in 1988, the Ballard Historical Society is a nonprofit organization committed to the research, preservation, and public awareness of the Ballard community. The society maintains a growing interactive archive of photographs, media materials, and artifacts. Preserving Ballard showcases Ballard's spirit by providing historic knowledge and a deep sense of place to a district experiencing rapid change.