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Traffic is as much part of life in Ballard as are the sweeping vistas, the beaches, the Ballard Locks, Ballard Avenue, Market Street and the Edith Macefield House. Below are live images and information Ballardites like to have at their fingertips, including a Tide Chart.
Live shot of Ballard waterfront (saltwater side) looking West over Shilshole Bay Marina from the offices of Seattle Yachts. If you are not seeing a live view, then refresh your browser.
Live traffic conditions around Greater Seattle and on arterials leading to Ballard.
The Edith Macefield House and underlying property have been bought by the same group behind Ballard Blocks (KG Investments). The new owners are letting the house rot until the city forces them to demolish it. Currently, the Macefield House (what remains of it) is still standing for the world to see and photograph where the David & Goliath battle between Edith Macefield and Ballard Blocks took place.
Owners of Famous Seattle Landmark Promise Happy Ending for House and Threaten Demolition.
Paul Thomas, The No BS Broker, has rejected 38 individual proposals to preserve world-famous house where it has stood since the earliest days of Seattle! No word from sellers or buyers on plans for property. Ballard Blocks is most likely buyer.
The owners of the Edith Macefield House are selling the property where the world's most famous nail house has stood proudly for the better part of 100 years. The sale is an opportunity for the sellers to recoup losses incurred after loaning a reported $500,000 to the previous owner, Greg Pinneo. Pinneo's grand plans for the Seattle landmark, dubbed Credo Square, flopped. The house was left as a shell of its former self and others were left holding the bag after many well-intentioned Ballard residents and businesses generously trusted Mr. Pinneo with funds to support his vision for the property.
Surrounded by the massive cement walls of Ballard Blocks on three sides, the house has become a major local attraction and a source of community pride because of the David & Goliath battle fought there by long-time homeowner, Ballard's Old Lady, Ms. Edith Macefield (1921-2008).
The sellers' agent, Mr. Paul Thomas (The No BS Broker), said last week that the house will be moved and saved in order to clear the way for sale of the unique and globally publicized property. Once fully developed and leased, the property could end up as 6,000 square feet of Class A Commercial/Office/Retail space worth up to $3 million.
With a production budget of $175 million and revenues over $1 billion, Pixar's 2009 animation movie UP contains at least one scene strikingly similar to the real Macefield House. Rumors are circulating in the neighborhood that Apple may lease office space from Ballard Blocks when Ballard Blocks 2 gets off the ground. Given Steve Jobs' role in the founding of Pixar, that would be the ultimate irony.
One developer has reportedly committed to purchasing the property already, but insists that the house be removed first. Mr. Thomas has announced a partnership with OPAL Community Land Trust, a nonprofit on Orcas Island, to save the house from demolition by shipping it to Orcas along with another house coming from West Seattle. Mr. Thomas has repeatedly assured the community that prospective buyers would be vetted based on their commitment to honoring the legacy of Edith Macefield; this was confirmed again by last week's announcement.
Once the Macefield House reaches its destination in Washington's idyllic San Juan Islands, it will be restored to an earlier glory with white picket fence. It will be finished and made available for a local family of modest means to lease for 99 years. Given the alternative of an unceremonious demolition, this would be a happy ending for the house, which represents so much to so many. This final chapter will resonate with fans of The Little House, a book by Virginia Lee Burton, and UP movie fans. If you like this ending and want to support it with your wallet, then you are invited to visit OPAL's Kickstarter campaign and to give.
Back in Ballard, open questions remain. Who will buy the land and what will be done with it? Is there any way to keep the location as an inspirational landmark? If yes, then how? Will the buyers be interested in working with the community? Will they simply throw up a small plaque to Edith Macefield? Will they do anything to recognize the location's special history?
This page will be updated as events unfold. Media are invited to use any part of this reporting and the photos linked below. A list of local contacts concerning this story is also provided below. Contact us for help with your reporting.
ABOUT THE EDITH MACEFIELD HOUSE IN BALLARD: Updated June 29, 2015
- Ballard's Edith Macefield House is undoubtedly the world's most famous nail house. Long-time Ballard resident Edith Macefield defied the odds by refusing to be forced off her land and out of her home by the ebbs and flows of development in Seattle. She was a 'Hold Out' long before the Ballard Blocks development came along. Her early 20th century cottage was originally built in Pioneer Square and moved to Ballard on an old residential block. It stood alone surrounded by Seattle's garbage truck lot for years after neighboring houses on the block were torn down. Despite the noise, dust and stench, Edith Macefield always kept her yard neat and tidy with green lawn and white picket fence. It was only later, in 2006, when developers of the Ballard Blocks shopping mall went so far as to pressure the elderly Edith Macefield with a $1 million carrot and massive publicity to give up and leave her home. Unwavering, Edith Macefield stayed in that house until her last days, as she had helped her own mother do before.
- Following the media attention, a wall of balloons signed by people from near and far formed in front of the house fed by constant flow of well wishers, photo takers, curiosity seekers, neighbors, tourists and media. The community posted informational signs and refilled balloons on the fence until the signs were taken down. Local real estate agent Paul Thomas, the "No BS Broker" and sellers of the property have not responded to requests for permission to replace the informational signs and keep filling the balloon dispenser on the fence. Before the balloons ran out, the seller had made assurances to community representatives that the buyer has exciting plans for the property. Despite repeated requests, a more detailed explanation has not been forthcoming from the sellers or their agent.
- People are flying to Seattle from around the country and the world to see Ballard's Macefield House before it's demolished or moved, which many still believe will be its ultimate fate despite community mobilization and support for preservation. The following message exchange on Facebook is an example of the attraction of this house and story:
- The Macefield House may be the world's most publicized property for sale this year. It was the subject of an auction, which closed on April 20, 2015. In a twist of events worthy of a Disney plot, the fate of the house remains up in the air. On June 29, 2015, Paul Thomas, the No BS Broker, announced that the sellers intend to demolish the house within 90 days if they can't find someone to move the house from its current location where it has survived since around the time when Ballard was still its own city. Sources close to the situation speculate that the sellers may have received a financially compelling offer that depends on the house being removed first.
- Edith Macefield and her story were already world-famous when the movie UP was released in 2009. Recognizing the similarities, Pixar featured the house in a promotion for its UP movie, which has reinforced the connection many people make between UP and the Edith Macefield House, as it has long been called by locals.
- The annual Edith Macefield Music Festival is named after the famous Ballard holdout and attracts thousands from the Seattle music community each Fall. Around 25 locals were sufficiently moved by Edith Macefield's steadfast determination that they braved the needle and inked themselves with varying tattoos of the house as a symbol of the values represented to them by this local, Old Ballard icon.
Anchor Tattoo - The Ballard artists behind approximately 25 Macefield tattoos in the local community.
Ernest at Salty Dog Studios - The founders of this 43 year-old, continuously operating Ballard artist loft and community recall motorcycle races in front of Edith Macefield's house who would call Seattle Police to complain.
Mary Schile - Chairwoman of the Ballard Historical Society.
[soliloquy id="11440"] [spacer]Planning a special event in Seattle? Check out this list of Ballard event venues for private dining, parties, weddings, family reunions, corporate events and networking meetings in this delicious North Seattle neighborhood. Ballard Bay Club Perfect event space for Weddings, Parties, Conferences and Banquets on Shilshole Bay. [caption id="attachment_10272" align="alignnone" width="608"] Salmon Bay Club from…
Find your Pleasure for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Happy Hour.
Below are a few of the happiest places for Happy Hour in Ballard. For a current list of all Ballard Bars, Restaurants, Taverns and Cafes, click here. For Master List of Ballard Breweries, Tap Rooms, Distillers and Wineries, click here.
Hi-Life- Happy Hour weekdays 8:30-11 AM. Every day 3-6:30 PM and again after 10 PM. On Tuesdays 3 PM til close.
Olaf's - Happy Hour Monday through Saturday 3-6 PM and all day Sundays for deluxe burgers, beer and pinball.
Bramling Cross - Celebrate in style! Happy hour from 5-6 PM and 10-11 PM daily at the bar on historic Ballard Avenue.
Percy's Seattle- Specials on craft cocktails and appetizers daily 4-6 PM and 4 PM until close on Mondays.
Shiku Sushi- Combine a California Roll and Manny's beer for under $10! Happy Hour is served 4:30-6:30 PM during the week and 12-6 PM on weekends.
8oz. Burgers Ballard - Happy Hour daily from 4-6 PM and 9 PM until close at this growing, premium burger joint. Wednesday is Industry Night - get a deal with proof of employment in any neighboring bar or restaurant.
Hazlewood- Quintessential Ballard hangout with strong connections to the Seattle music community. Happy hour daily 4-7 PM and Sundays all night.
Hale's Ales Brew Pub - Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3-6 PM and Late Night Sunday-Thursday 9-10 PM; Friday & Saturday 10-11 PM. Seven Buck Lunch is always $7 Monday-Friday, 11 AM-3 PM.
Need more happy hour options in Ballard? No problem. Dozens of other popular spots are within a few blocks of one another for Happy Hour. Check out Gracia, Stoneburner, Senor Moose Cafe, Hotel Albatross (not a hotel), Ballard Loft, Moshi Moshi Sushi, 4B's Ballard - formerly Ballard Grill & Ale House (lots of pool tables), Market Arms Pub, Kangaroo & Kiwi, Cafe Mox Game Parlour (for board game lovers, Skillet Diner, Shelter Lounge, Lock & Keel, Conor Byrne, The Sexton, Pono Ranch, Essex, Delancey, Brimmer & Heeltap, San Fermo, Golden Beetle, Bramling Cross, Bastille, Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen, Hattie's Hat, Marine Hardware at Staple & Fancy, La Isla, Matador, King's Hardware, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Ballard Annex Oyster House and Ocho. So many options. The fun is in discovering the places you love in Ballard!
Organize a Ballard bar crawl. It's easy. Meet your crew at the intersection of Market Street and Ballard Avenue; walk any direction! Most happy hours are between 3 and 6 PM with some variances. Happy hour starts again at select places after 10. Mondays and Tuesdays are good to find all day Happy Hours. Cheers!
The following restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries serve BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER in the heart of Ballard. These are all within easy walking distance:
Hi-Lifeserves all day in the spacious, beautifully renovated 1911 fire station. Perfect for business, social or family outing. Separate bar and private dining area. Seasonal menu of local, farm-fresh products. A must-see. Open every day!
Senor Moose Cafe is known by locals for its unwavering commitment and creative homage to fresh Mexican cuisine. Small, colorful and absolutely worth a visit. Good value and unique. Seattle Magazine calls it "the best breakfast in town". Open daily.
The venerable Cupcake Royale and Verite Coffee is a community favorite and popular meeting spot next to the movie theater. Cupcake Royale serves more than just coffee and caffeine; it serves joy. Open all day, every day!
These popular places serve lunch, dinner and dessert in the heart of Ballard:
Porkchop & Co.has built a reputation in the neighborhood for beautiful, innovative dishes using local, farm-fresh products. Popular for brunch. Open Tuesday through Sunday.
Red Mill Totem House Burgers is the place to for food next to the Ballard Locks. Red Mill onion rings have received national acclaim and pair beautifully with fish & chips or burgers, which have brought pleasure to countless locals, families and visitors.
Volterrais an esteemed culinary destination in Ballard. The blend of contemporary Italian cuisine, art, decor, service and wine have earned Volterra national acclaim. This is a must-see and a must-taste. Open daily for lunch and dinner! Lunch options include a prix-fixe menu and takeout.
Hale's Ale's Brew Pub serves lunch and dinner daily in the neighborhood's oldest independent, local brewery. A filling Seven Buck Lunch is always $7 on weekdays. Fresh beer, fresh food and fresh pizza await all who visit this active and esteemed Ballard brewery.
India Bistromay be the best value for lunch in Ballard with choice of delicious buffet or a-la-carte North Indian cuisine. India Bistro also offers takeout and catering. Open every day from 11 AM!
Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchensports a one-of-a-kind Texas-sized bar, dining area and terrace with sweeping views over Salmon Bay. It's a must-see in the thick of the action. Great for business lunch and large groups. Open daily from mid-morning!
The Matadoris ideally located at the top of historic Ballard Avenue. This is a Seattle hot spot reputed for its Tequila Bar, good food and action. The nachos rank among best in town. A stylish meeting point for any occasion with sidewalk seating available. Open daily from 11 AM to 2 AM!
Ballard Loftis Seattle sports central in Ballard. Located in a funky, fun space with beautiful patio, games, screens and contemporary bar menu. Ballard Loft will keep you coming back. Open every day until 1:30 AM.
These fine establishments specialize in serving dinner:
Percy's & Co.was nominated as one of America's Best New Bars within two years of opening on this historic stretch of Ballard Avenue. Stylish booth seating, long high-top tables seating 20 and a covered back patio. Craft cocktails are concocted by Joe and Kyle to cure your ills, apothecary-style. Delectable menu and well worth a visit. Open every day until 2 AM.
The Geraldis craft cocktails and comfort food with a cool, mid-century vibe, a perfect stop while visiting Ballard's three vinyl record shops. Vegetarian and vegan options on the menu with a back room for larger parties and private events. Open every day for dinner until late and all day on weekends!
Ballard Annex Oyster Houseconnects the neighborhood to its nautical roots with freshseafood, a bustling oyster & shellfish bar and an impressive, separate cocktail space for large parties and private events. Ballard Annex has many local fans and regulars. Open daily for dinner and all day on weekends!
Olaf's was voted best Neighborhood Pub in Seattle by readers of Seattle Magazine in 2015. Olaf's burgers, beers and good cheer keep locals coming back week after week. Everything on the menu is prepared with attention to detail and love. If you don't mind the vagina door and TV screens, then you will love Olaf's. Open daily from 3 PM to 2 AM.
A Million Cool Things Everyone should Know about Ballard Facts and Trivia.
Ballard was established in 1889 as a mill town on the water. Within 15 years, it was one of the biggest mill towns in America. Today, this Seattle neighborhood retains a small town feel, but with an increasingly urban flair. Ballard adjoins water on two sides (fresh and salt) encompassing 4 square miles. In light traffic conditions, it takes 15 minutes to drive from the Space Needle to Ballard.
As one astute EAT BALLARD fan noted, one could say that "Seattle ate Ballard" when it was annexed in 1907 with 17,000 residents. Today, Ballard has an estimated 44,000 residents and growing.
The Hiram Chittenden Locks turned 100 years old in 2017, one of Seattle's top tourist destinations and a local favorite. The "Ballard Locks", as they are known locally, connect fresh and salt waters, holding back the flood of an enormous water basin (Lake Union, Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish). The fish ladder at the locks provides access for large runs of salmon returning to their native streams along with a front-row seat for the people of Seattle and visitors to watch them and the sea lions who prey on them.
The drawbridges around Ballard are reputed as some of the world's busiest because of boat traffic (commercial and leisure) transiting between the fresh and salt waters connected by the Ballard Locks. The average time for a drawbridge to open and close is about 4 minutes and quite a sight. The drawbridges do not open between 7-9 AM or between 4-6 PM on weekdays. The bridges are opened and closed by the bridge tender who communicates with vessels from a high perch with a prime view.
Seattle is the de facto home port of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet. Boats like Northwestern, made famous by the Deadliest Catch TV Series, moor in Ballard while in port.
Ballard's European settlers came from the Scandinavian countries, specifically Norway. Their influence and contribution to the community remains steadfast, represented by community treasures such as the Leif Eriksson Lodge and Nordic Heritage Museum.
Ballard is a great place to eat. Don't let us get started on that. The estimated density of cafes, bakeries, restaurants and bars in Ballard is double or triple most US cities. Ballard's culinary community is comprised predominantly of locally owned and independently operated businesses. There are few national chains and franchises.
There is a big, beautiful public pier located a stone's throw from the center of Old Ballard. This is fresh water above the locks. This pier by the boarded-up Yankee Diner extends into Salmon Bay and offers unrivaled views on Ballard's maritime activity. This is a terrific place to walk. Short-term mooring is usually available, but boaters are advised to bring or lock valuables. All the food action is just a block away with ample parking at Yankee Diner lot.
Ballard has its own neighborhood skate park just two blocks away from the Historic District.
Ballard Farmers Market is the #1 farmers market in Washington, by sales, and it was the first neighborhood farmers market in Seattle to be open year-round.
Jacques Cousteau's famous research ship, Calypso, was built in Ballard.
Ballard is a photographer's dream for Seattle maritime, industrial, food, historical, architectural subjects and sidewalk action shots.
The Ballard Historical Society has a terrific walking map of Ballard that you can print out and follow. It highlights and explains all the most historical buildings and sites in Ballard.
Locally owned and operated Majestic Bay Theatres will make you go Wow! The triplex in the heart of Ballard is a monument to modern elegance and a tribute to the community.
Have a look! How does Ballard stack up with other great 'B' towns in terms of population and area?Ballard: 44,000 people / 5 square miles
Bainbridge Island: 23,000 / 65
Bangor: 32,000 / 34
Bothell: 35,000 / 12
Bremerton: 39,000 / 32
Bozeman: 40,000 / 20
Burlington: 42,000 / 16
Burien: 49,000 / 13
Bergen op Zoom: 66,000 / 35
Bend: 81,000 / 32
Bellingham: 82,000 / 31
Boulder: 100,000 / 25
Burbank: 104,000 / 52
Billings: 110,000 / 41
Berne: 126,000 / 20
Bellevue: 133,000 / 36
Brussels: 177,000 / 62
Baton Rouge: 227,000 / 80
Buffalo: 258,000 / 52
Bergen: 265,000 / 180
Bristol: 428,000 / 42
Boston: 645,000 / 90
Seattle: 652,000 / 83
Brisbane: 1,000,000 / 527
Barcelona: 1,600,000 / 40
Budapest: 1,700,000 / 200
Brooklyn: 2,600,000 / 97
Buenos Aires: 2,700,000 / 79
Berlin: 3,500,000 / 344
Bangalore: 4,000,000 / 286
Bangkok: 6,355,000 / 606
Beijing: 11,500,000 / 6,487
Bombay: 14,300,000 / 233
What TV show stars the Ballard-based Northwestern pictured here? If you don't already know, click on photo for answer.
Restaurants, bars, bakeries, cafes and dessert shops;
Ballard boutiques and cool shops;
Walking and biking route maps;
Points of interest for Ballard visitors, tourists and residents;
Ballard breweries, tap rooms, distillers and much more.
Getting to Ballard is worth it! Timing is everything.
Many people walk or bike to Ballard. The best known local secret for pedestrians and bikers is probably the crossing at the Hiram Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks), which connects Ballard to Magnolia, Fishermen's Terminal and the lovely Ship Canal Trail. Give it a shot! It's an awesome route passing the fish ladder, the locks, the botanical garden and ending up in the culinary heart of Seattle.
Ways to reach Ballard:
Plane. Actually, this would be the most difficult way to reach us. We need to look into it. Boeing Field is the general aviation airport closest to Ballard. Seatac International Airport is a 45 to 60 minute car ride from Ballard at mid-day.
Helicopter. Possible. Call us and we will be happy to set up a great landing spot for you and invite you to lunch.
Boat/yacht. No problem. Just around the corner, on the salt water side of the locks, Shilshole Bay Marina offers world-class amenities for boaters and yachters. Shilshole is a 5-7 minute Uber ride from the center of Ballard.
Foot/bike. Our favorite mode of transportation. Check out our Walking Map. Good for bikers too.
Public transit. Not great, but available and navigable. Bus from downtown Seattle will drop you right by the Edith Macefield House, a stone's throw from all the action.
Car. Isn't this how most of us get around? The options are endless from battery operated to chauffeured. Cars are our modern day equivalent of a king's stable. To be green, don't drive around in circles for street parking; head to one of the numerous pay lots or to Swedish Hospital's 400 car garage. It will save you time the short walk will feel great!
Travel Time Estimates from Key Destinations (check your GPS)
From Ballard Locks: 3-5 minutes
From Shilshole Bay Marina: 6-8 minutes
From Woodland Park Zoo: 6-8 minutes
From Golden Gardens Park: 8-10 minutes
From Carkeek Park: 11-14 minutes
From Green Lake: 12-15 minutes
From University of Washington: 15-20 minutes
From Northgate: 15-20 minutes
From the Space Needle: 15-20 minutes
From South Lake Union: 15-20 minutes
From Seatac International Airport: 35-60 minutes
From Redmond: 30-40 minutes
From Mercer Island: 25-40 minutes
From North Seattle: 20-30 minutes
From Everett: 35-50 minutes
From Bellingham: 1.5 hours
From Vancouver: 3 hours
From Portland: 3.5 hours
Door-to-door from Paris center: 16 hours
Door-to-door from Shanghai center: 18 hours
Of course, there can be congestion on the way to Ballard, including the possibility of a Pacific Fleet Fishing Boat or tall masted sailboat causing one of the draw bridges to open. However, thanks to the GPS mapping system on your phone from the brilliant minds at Microsoft and Google, surprises are generally avoidable.
We know it's easier and more pleasant to drive here without traffic, but don't let it stop you. Enjoy your voyage in the car, hopefully not alone and with someone you love. You will be transported back in time when you reach Ballard where you will be welcomed warmly by the local business owners and workers. It's worth it!
Here is a live look at traffic around Greater Seattle and arterials leading to Ballard.