|Charles F. Treat||1890|
|George G. Startup||1896-1899|
|Thomas C. Reed||1902|
|Justus H. Wiley||1906|
First settled in the 1850s, Ballard grew quickly through the last half of the 19th century. After it became known that the Great Northern Railroad would route its trains into Seattle from the north, the town's land was platted and real estate boomed. Boasting of being "the shingle capital of the world," the Ballard's timber and fishing jobs drew many new residents, including a large number of immigrants from Scandinavia.
As it grew, the town built a post office in 1889, a city hall in 1899, and a Carnegie library in 1904. The first bridge over Salmon Bay was completed in 1889, allowing for improved commerce and communications with Seattle. Streetcars and ferries were also operational by the 1890s, and an amusement park at Golden Gardens brought pleasure seekers out to the Ballard beach.
When the town incorporated in 1890, it had 1,636 residents. By 1900, its 4,568 residents made it the seventh largest city in Washington, and the population continued to boom, growing to 17,000 by the time of annexation in 1907. Growth was quickly overwhelming the city's ability to provide services, and a safe water supply was a continuing problem. In 1902, Ballard made an agreement with Seattle to tap into its water system, and was using more than 5 million gallons a year. This expenditure was adding to the city's debt, and many citizens believed that the city was becoming unable to sustain itself.
More than the other annexed cities, Ballard was divided on the issue of merging with Seattle. Indeed, in the first annexation vote in 1905, the citizens decided to remain independent. However, enough minds were changed 15 months later that annexation won out on the second vote. Ballard citizens showed their mixed feelings about the change by draping their city hall with black crepe and flying the flag at half mast on the day of annexation.