Ballard Historical Society wins Department of Neighborhood Small & Simple Grant

Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Ballard history since 1988 the Ballard Historical Society (BHS) looks to the future with an interactive mapping project thanks to a grant from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods.

The ‘Mapping Historic Ballard: Shingletown to Tomorrow’ project will build a widely accessible, living map of this area’s past. By updating and digitizing previous historic resource surveys and conducting a contemporary survey, the BHS intends to catalyze an exciting and informed connection between current and new residents.

As Ballard Historical Society member Susan Reinhard says of her walking tours, “It’s the little stories that make up the big stories.” There is great interest on the part of Ballard’s newer residents in learning about, and from, Ballard’s storied past, particularly through a digital format.

In order to accomplish this ambitious project, community volunteers will be crucial. The Project Steering Committee, guided by a Historic Preservation Consultant, will train and hit the streets with volunteers in order to revisit remaining historic buildings. Their work will enable the Geographic Information System (GIS) Consultant and mapping team to create time period “snapshots” similar to a popular children’s book that reveals what happened “On This Spot.” Volunteers will learn about periods and styles of architecture and be able to contribute to the final product through photography and research.

Led by Project Coordinator Davidya Kasperzyk, Principal of A NW Collaborative, the current project boundary is the mixed-use neighborhood north of the Market St. Commercial District, recognized as the City of Ballard prior to annexation by Seattle in 1907. The project will be completed by July 2016.

Volunteers and the general public will have the opportunity to learn more about the “Ballard Historic Resources Survey and GIS Mapping Project” (Neighborhood Matching Fund title) at a public event on November 12, 2015 (venue pending). Kasperzyk and BHS Trustees (Lesli Cook and Laura K. Cooper) form the executive committee. They will work closely with a steering committee to be comprised of additional BHS and community members, including Bill Singer, Director of Architecture at Environmental Works.

Since its founding the non-profit Ballard Historical Society has provided entry into homes through its Classic Home Tour, educated through its lectures, and has been able to connect businesses and residences with over 1000 archived photographs and memorabilia. They are pleased to have the opportunity to create an interactive on-line database and physical maps for Ballard residents and our broader community to investigate the past and ponder the future.

For further information about the project and to learn about volunteer roles please contact archives@ballardhistory.org and save the date for a public kick-off event on November 12, 2015.

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