New Ballard Branch, The Seattle Public Library, opens on June 8, 1963.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 6/20/2002
  • Essay 3856
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On June 8, 1963, the new Ballard Branch, The Seattle Public Library, opens to patrons at 5711 24th Avenue NW. The building replaces a much smaller building built in 1904 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie.

As early as the 1910s, the old Ballard library was cramped for space. In 1932, Ballard's circulation was second only to that of the main library. Voters defeated bond issues for a new branch in 1950, 1952, and 1956. Voters did approve a new library at 4th Avenue and Madison Street downtown. That project left a surplus and the funds were used to build a new branch in Ballard.

The new library was designed by Gudmund Berge of Mandeville and Berge, and provided 6,600 square feet of public access. The design included two works of art, a wood sculpture, Tree of Knowledge by Archie Graber, and a fountain and sculpture, Of Sea and Life by Howard Duell.

Guests of honor included descendants of some of the original benefactors of the first Ballard library. Blanche Dunmore (1874-1971) was also honored. In 1903, Dunmore was a teacher at East School in Ballard. After the City of Ballard completed construction of the Carnegie library, Dunmore led a student drive to collect 500 books to start the collection.


Margaret Smith, "Ballard Branch: Eighty Years of Service, 1904-1984," photocopy of typescript, Ballard Branch, Seattle Public Library, Vertical File, Folder 1800.19; Elizabeth Wright Evans, "Old Library Replaced By The New In Ballard," The Seattle Times Sunday, June 2, 1963, pp. 1-2.

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