From the Publisher’s Desk: Musings from my neighborhood, a reminder to take our survey,

Teresa Wippel bestAs I look out my window to Lake Ballinger, watching kayakers glide across the water on this gorgeous mid-February day, I am reminded of what a glorious place Edmonds is. It’s tempting to focus on the Bowl part of Edmonds, of course, because that’s what most people think about — the cute downtown, the ferry, the beach, the sunsets. My view of Edmonds is different but equally satisfying both in terms of quality of life and scenery. Since moving here from Seattle 30 years ago, I’ve always lived on the east side of town in this quiet neighborhood that is nearly in Mountlake Terrace, just a stone’s throw from Shoreline and five minutes from Lynnwood.

We are treated to geese flying in formation, and eagles and hawks looking for a meal. Facing east, we have some gorgeous sunrises but occasionally the famous Edmonds waterfront sunsets send a little light show our way. We have no train noise, but during rush hour you can barely hear the faint sound of Interstate 5 traffic. We have no ferry horns, although if the wind is blowing just right, we can hear them from the downtown.

Julia and Richard Ballinger owned a “gas-powered” rowboat to reach their summer home on their namesake Lake Ballinger. This 1911 view looks east from near the tracks of the Seattle-Everett Interurban. (Courtesy, Ron Edge via
Julia and Richard Ballinger’s summer home on Lake Ballinger. This 1911 view looks east from near the tracks of the Seattle-Everett Interurban. (Courtesy, Ron Edge via

Our Lake Ballinger neighborhood is rich in history. The lake was formerly called McAleer Lake after logger Hugh McAleer. It received its present name in 1901 when it was purchased by Richard Achilles Ballinger, who served as mayor of Seattle and as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Taft. The three-acre Edmount Island was the location of a summer home owned by Ballinger and his wife Julia, as seen in this 1911 photo from Paul Dorpat’s Seattle Now & Then website. The island, which made the news in 2009 when it caught fire and burned for several days, is officially closed but there’s not much to see — it’s marshy and covered with goose droppings. You can read even more fascinating history about Lake Ballinger at Paul Dorpat’s website.

Perhaps the biggest change for our neighborhood in recent years was the completion in 2012 of the Edmonds link to the Interurban bicycle and pedestrian trail. The trail follows the route of the Interurban trolley line, which started in 1907 and ran from Seattle to Everett until 1939. The new paved pathway that runs from 76th Avenue West through our neighborhood draws dog walkers and stroller-pushing parents alike to enjoy the scenery.

And while I love where I live, I am grateful that in my travels for My Edmonds News, I am able to explore many Edmonds neighborhoods — from Five Corners to Perrinville to Westgate and, yes, downtown.

And speaking of being grateful, I want to thank the many readers who have already filled out our survey. If you haven’t done so, the link is here. I promise it’s  short, and your feedback will be much appreciated.

— Teresa Wippel, Publisher





  1. Wow, thank you for this bit of history and for that photo! I was wondering where on that island they managed to erect a house that didn’t immediately sink, and it makes sense; the location of the house and of the shed on the right are where the only two large trees on the island stand right now.

  2. Teresa, thank you for developing the My Edmonds News into a great online newspaper. It links us to more than we’d learn about our area on our own time. I’ve lived here since 1964 and continue to learn each day because of the paper and the hard work of you and your story and information contributors.

  3. I’ll join the chorus of praise for My Edmonds News. Your historic information about Lake Ballinger area fits right in with the celebration of 125 years as a town that Edmonds is celebrating this year. Thanks for all you do.

  4. Thanks Teresa, I have been involved in many discussions and attended council meetings…when they talk about Edmonds, it almost always references downtown and areas immediately surrounding. As a resident who was born and raised in the Lake Ballinger area, still residing here…I thank you for speaking out as a voice for all of Edmonds. I too, love living on the other side of the tracks here in Lake Ballinger…rich in history!

  5. Hi neighbor, thank you for your lovely article on Lake Ballinger. I too enjoy sitting by my window here while I work, I’m a transcriptionist, and daily watch the view of the lake and the boats and the people coming and going. We’ve got a little bit of heaven here in our lovely neighborhood. Keep up the good work on My Edmonds News!

  6. Our family first arrived in the Lake Ballinger area during War II…1942. We lived there until about 1950. We grew up swimming in the lake. We had a group of about 10 kids who spent our summers together swimming at various locations along the west side. To be in the “club”, you had to swim to the island, walk across and continue swimming to the east shore. Four of us had sailboats. During one cold winter, we were able to ice skate across the lake. Too much to tell in this short space. Send me an e mail if you’re interested in further details.

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