The Ballard Historical Society and the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association joined together to create this mural in 1995 to commemorate our community's rich and prosperous history, and to celebrate our economic and cultural ties to other nations.
The Sister City relationship between Seattle and Bergen, Norway established in 1957, is illustrated by the young Norwegian and American women holding hands in the panel to the left. Behind them are shown the totem pole presented to Bergen by Seattle, and the Bergen City flag, a gift to Seattle from Bergen. The official seats of both cities and the superimposed flags of the United States and Norway over the left and right panels also symbolize this relationship.
The image of the Ballard City Hall (1899-1965) and the children's parade in the foreground celebrate the history of this community, once the City of Ballard and known as "Shingletown, U.S.A."
The lumber and maritime industries, portrayed in the left and right panels, were predominant along Ballard's waterfront since the 1880's. These industries attracted many first and second generation Scandinavians to this area in the 1900's, creating ties between Ballard and Scandinavia that have spanned generations.
The image of the minister blessing the fleet, in the far right panel, depicts an annual ceremony begun in Ballard in the 1920's. In the mural, he is shown standing in front of the Fisherman's Memorial which is erected at Fisherman's Terminal in memory of those who have died at sea. Symbolizing the five Nordic nations of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland are the five swans which soar across the mural.
The mural was conceived and painted by Alan Wylie of Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada and Charles Michael Svob of Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.