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Butterworth Building

Once a mortuary, the Butterworth Building has housed many businesses—and just as many frightening tales. Learn more on a Seattle US Ghost Adventure tour.

White and brown stone multi level Butterworth Building with street lamp in foreground

The Butterworth Building in downtown Seattle was once a mortuary and the city’s first establishment to offer comprehensive death and funeral-related services, from coffins to corpse retrieval. It also had the very first elevator on the West Coast, used to move bodies between floors. 

Today, that unsettling past lingers and manifests in odd happenings that are unexplainable and hair-raising. Learn more about the spooky side of Seattle on a US Ghost Adventures tour. 

The Expansion of Kells

The Butterworth Building actually houses multiple haunted locations. The same family who runs the haunted Irish bar Kells Pub in the basement of the building was brave enough to also expand into the upper areas of the building, where the funerals took place. Here, the owner, Patrick, would open a non-Irish-themed restaurant.

The owner didn’t want to disturb any spirits or ignore the history of the place. Instead, he sought to use its past as a selling point of interest to get people into the space. Calling in a priest, Patrick had the space blessed before opening to the public. 

But the aforementioned purposes of this space can’t—and perhaps won’t—be ignored. Where one balcony for private dining lies, mourning families used to sit during funerals. Where another balcony lies, the minister used to preside over these funerals as the corpse sat in a chair below.

Should you step into this new expansion, you may feel the presence of lost ones who have gone before us.

First Avenue Happenings

On the other side of the building from Post Alley, on First Avenue, the street-level space of the building has also housed many short-lived establishments with inexplicable happenings.

Avenue One was a restaurant that occupied the space from 1997 to 2002 and experienced many bone-chilling events in that brief span. In one occurrence, two wine bottles flew off the wine rack, barely missing an employee’s head. In other incidents, a vase moved and appeared on a window table without anyone touching it, and an old woman vanished into a wall.

Before this restaurant, the previous owners also reported having experienced a “spiritual vibration.” Even customers felt it, too, especially in one booth appropriately dubbed the “haunted booth.” 

While some dispelled the rumors of this haunted booth, one night, the evidence was inarguable. One night, a couple dining at a booth witnessed a large piece of plaster fall from the ceiling onto the floor just feet away from the table. 

Another story with no explanation about the Butterworth building? A cafe owner once witnessed a pair of sneakers underneath a bathroom stall disappear with no explanation.

The Shaman’s Telling

While some of these stories may have scientific or logical explanations, one shaman decidedly confirmed that there are, in fact, several ghosts that occupy the building. He counted 19. 

The shaman suggested some of these ghosts are from the bodies that passed through the mortuary, while others were from an old Suquamish native burial ground. The restless spirits of Chinese and African Americans who helped erect the building also haunt its walls.

Haunted Seattle, WA 

A city rich with history, Seattle, Washington, also carries some stories from the beyond. A trip to the Butterworth Building shows you a side of the Emerald City you won’t see on a typical tourist jaunt. Discover this and more on a Seattle US Ghost Adventures tour.

About US Ghost Adventures

Since 2013, US Ghost Adventures has offered entertaining, historic, and authentic ghost tours of America’s most haunted cities. We deliver fun yet honest accounts of hauntings across the nation for curious people of all ages. Our ghost stories are based on historical research, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send a chill down your spine.

This video gives you a small taste of what you might experience on your ghost tour — subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more.

US Ghost Adventures also offers virtual tours, a self-guided mobile app, and an Alexa voice app.

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