Julie D. Pheasant-Albright
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The first land claim in what would become the city of Ballard was made in 1852, but it wasn't until a ship captain named William Rankin Ballard lost a bet with a business partner and found himself the owner of 160 acres of seemingly worthless land that the city prospered and became the "Shingle Capital of the World." Incorporated in 1890, Ballard grew quickly, thanks to shingle and lumber mills and the Scandinavian fishing fleet. When a horse was supposedly found in the city water supply in 1906, reluctant Ballardites voted to be annexed to the city of Seattle, and the flag flew at half-staff at Ballard City Hall. Home to the Nordic Heritage Museum, Chittenden Locks, and the fishing fleet, this bustling city-within-a-city still retains its unique Scandinavian flavor to this day.