seattle's spooky architecture

11:00 AM

We all have one in our neighborhood. We're all guilty of walking by it, sneaking peeks, trying to get a glimpse of something inside... In honor of Halloween, we’ve collected a few of our favorite spooky, haunted, and historic buildings from the Seattle Area and surrounding. Take a look…. You never know which one might be hiding in your neighborhood!

Perhaps one of the best known “haunted” buildings in Seattle, The Sorrento Hotel, built in 1909, is located in the First Hill neighborhood. Still a well-known and oft-frequented establishment today, it is rumored to host local ghost, Alice B. Toklas (the muse behind Gertrude Stein’s famous book), who roams the 4th floor.  The hotel fondly refers to her as their friendly ghost and honors her memory with a special drink on their menu at the Dunbar Room.


The Sorrento Hotel under construction in 1909
The Sorrento Hotel Today

West Seattle is home to another haunted building: West Seattle High School.  Built in 1902, it was designated as a historic landmark in 1981. There are reports that say a young student named Rose Higginbotham hung herself at the school in 1924, and ever since, students claim to see her spirit wandering the halls. She is also rumored to be seen in the early morning fog of the adjacent Hiawatha Playfield.

West Seattle High School back in 1917
West Seattle High School today

The iconic 5,000 square foot Georgetown Castle was built in 1902 by Peter J. Gessner. It is a distinctive example of Queen Anne architecture in the area and though it sat long uncared for, has now been remodeled and restored into a family residence again. It is popular belief that the home has long since been haunted by a tall, thin woman. However there is some disagreement on whether it is the ghost of a prostitute that was murdered by her magician boyfriend while the home spent a stint as a brothel, or the wife of one of Gessner’s sons, Sarah, who had an affair with another man.  

Georgetown Castle after it was completed in 1902
Georgetown Castle today, after restoration

Originally built in 1925, The Harvard Exit Theatre on Capitol Hill was originally a home to the Women's Century Club (they still meet there today!). The club's purpose was to help women with equality issues and the right to vote. It is rumored that a Century Club member hung herself in the upstairs lounge in the 1920's. Now a popular theatre, movie watchers have reported seeing shadowy figures in the lobby and hearing women's laughter on the upper levels.  


Harvard Exit Theatre as the Women's Century Club 
Harvard Exit Theatre today
A popular haunt in downtown Seattle’s Post Alley is the Butterworth Building... which is home to the popular Kell’s Irish Pub today. The basement of the Butterworth Building was the location of the city’s first mortuary and in the early 1900’s, was a rather busy one! The owners and staff have reported experiencing moving objects and having objects shatter spontaneously. Some even say they have seen a young girl who, legend has it, tries to lure other young children to come play with her.

Butterworth Building as the city's first mortuary
Butterworth Building as Kell's today
Halloween is just around the corner… maybe stop by Kell’s Irish Pub for a spooky pint or the Sorrento Hotel’s Dunbar Room for a Ms. Toklas cocktail and see for yourself if any of these rumors hold true.  And most importantly, have a happy and haunted Halloween!

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