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Butterworth Building

Definition: The Butterworth Building or Butterworth Block at 1921 First Avenue in Seattle, Washington (U.S. state) was originally built as the Butterworth & Sons mortuary, which moved into this location in 1903 and moved to larger quarters in 1923.
The Butterworth Building or Butterworth Block at 1921 First Avenue in Seattle, Washington (U.S. state) was originally built as the Butterworth & Sons mortuary, which moved into this location in 1903 and moved to larger quarters in 1923.
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History Records: 2
Paranormal Claims: 7
Evidence Records: 0
Stories: 1

The Butterworth Building or Butterworth Block at 1921 First Avenue in Seattle, Washington (U.S. state) was originally built as the Butterworth & Sons mortuary, which moved into this location in 1903 and moved to larger quarters in 1923.  Located on a steep hill, the building has only three stories on the First Avenue side, but five on Post Alley. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); adjacent to Pike Place Market, it falls within the NRHP's Pike Place Public Market Historic District and the city's Place Market Historical District.

The building was the city's first purpose-built mortuary building. Jeannie Yandel in 2009 described it as "The city's first place for comprehensive death-related services from corpse retrieval to coffin sales."

Mercedes Yaeger, who runs Market Ghost Tours in Pike Place Market draws an analogy to a later Seattle business founded in the Market, and calls the 1903 mortuary "the Starbucks of the dead: in the same way Starbucks revolutionized the coffee business, E.R. Butterworth's mortuary revolutionized the death business." The building is associated with several ghost stories. The building had the first elevator on the West Coast of the United States, used to transport bodies.  A Seattle Mail and Herald account from August 1904, shortly after the building opened calls it "without question of doubt, the most complete establishment of its kind in the United States…" A 2008 Seattle Times article describes the building, still extant, as "[b]eautifully appointed in stained mahogany, art glass, ornamental plaster and specially designed brass and bronze hardware…" The basement, accessible through Post Alley at the rear, is now (as of 2009) home to Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub. Several recent accounts describe the Kells space as the former embalming room and crematorium, but the 1904 account says that the basement housed the building's heating plant, stables, and a storage space for funeral wagons.

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