Ballard is a very charming neighborhood just northwest of downtown, not too far from our hood. Some would consider us to live in Ballard. It was settled in the 1800s by Scandinavian fishermen and boat builders. There are still many Scandinavian people residing in the neighborhood, and some old haunts such as The Viking that feel (and smell — in a good way) like they’ve been around a hundred years. Today’s Ballard is quite changed. In the 1990’s it became the new hot spot to purchase an affordable home “in the city.” It is now a neighborhood full of hip little shops, restaurants, bars, and parks. We frequent many of the establishments often and really love the neighborhood.
Down by the Ballard Bridge (which takes traffic from downtown over Salmon Bay into northern parts of Seattle), a new mixed use retail space was going up a few years ago. The developers did what they always do, bought out the homeowners for exorbitant amounts of money and built a big concrete building with a new Trader Joe’s, LA Fitness, Chipotle (defunct before they even finished it), etc.
One woman, Edith Macefield, decided to stand her ground. She’d lived in her 1900 home since 1966 and was not about to let it go. Not even for $1,000,000.
“I don’t want to move. I don’t need the money. Money doesn’t mean anything.”
Well, Edith passed on last June and had no family remaining. She willed her precious 1900 home to the contracting supervisor of the construction site. In the past few weeks, both the LA Fitness and Trader Joe’s have opened for business. Edith’s house is still standing. A little awkward there, but standing.
Note how selfish many of my posts are – I want the city to stay the same as it was when I moved here (almost 8 years ago). I can’t imagine how Edith must have felt watching old, crusty fisherman Ballard turn into “yuppie-ville.” Sometimes I wonder if we were all a little more like Edith we wouldn’t be in today’s economic crisis.
I’m interested to see in the coming year what will become of Edith’s. Some are hoping the developer will sell it to someone to turn it into a homey pub. Some have even suggested hiring the Cheers bartender who was recently laid off in Boston. Whatever becomes of it, I hope they keep it. It is a shining light of a really passionate and determined woman who wouldn’t let anyone tell her what to do. Rest in peace, Edith.