This building, located in Ballard at the corner of Ballard Ave and Dock Street, is now part of Ballard Hardware’s pipe yard. But it wasn’t always that way. At some point before being acquired by Ballard Hardware in 1977, it was part of the Berg Fuel Co, a local business that operated from the 1930s through the 1960s. I’m not sure what left these ghost letters. Perhaps it was paint that has worn off over time or some sort of raised letters that were removed when the property was sold. Either way it’s a cool effect, great that Ballard Hardware has left it more or less intact, and a shame that some moron tagged part of it.
Berg Fuel Co, as the name suggests, was in the business of fuel. First coal and wood, branching out into oil after World War 2. The ghost letters say it all: burner oils, coal, wood. And Sunset 4443. Sunset or SU was the prefix for Ballard phone numbers back in the day. Seattle phone numbers switched from six (in this case, SU-4443) to seven digits in 1958, making the original lettering at least 50+ years old.
I noted the ghost of the word Sunset on the Union Wines building in this earlier post and wondered why it was there. Now I know. And like most things, once you know, it’s obvious. In my defense, there’s no sign of a number on the Union Wines building and if pressed I would have guessed the old prefix for Ballard was, well, Ballard. Ah well. You live and learn.