AKA: Butler Hotel, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Butler Garage, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - infrastructure

Designers: Parkinson and Evers, Architects (firm); Cecil Louis Calvert Evers (architect); John Parkinson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1890

12 stories, total floor area: 149,040 sq. ft.

605 2nd Avenue
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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Northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and James Street.


This fine, Richardsonian Romanesque office building was transformed soon after its construction into the Hotel Butler, an upscale inn for local businessmen and miners who struck it rich in the Klondike and Alaskan gold fields. About nine years after the construction of the more fabulous Olympic Hotel in 1924, the building was gutted, shortened and turned into a parking garage.

Building History

The first Butler Building, a small wood-frame commercial block, burned in the Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889. Following this, Seattle businessmen Guy C. Phinney and Daniel C. Jones partnered to finance the new Butler Building #2, plans for which were announced in 07/1889. The office building was converted to use as a hotel in 1894.

The Butler Hotel hosted a number of American Presidents, including Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt as well as many newly-rich miners from the Alaskan Gold Fields. In 1901, the department store owner Henry C. Southwick (born 01/1857 in NY), merchant Nathan Eckstein (born 01/1873 in Germany) and other professionals resided at the Butler. Real estate investors and hospitality managers Dietrich Hamm (born 06/23/1854 in Mainz, Germany-d. 09/06/1918 in Seattle, WA) and Ferdinand Schmitz (born 12/15/1860 in Dinsburg, Germany-d. 08/21/1942 in Seattle, WA) owned and managed the hotel in 1900. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1900, p. 535.) The pair owned the Hamm and Schmitz Land Company, a real estate investment firm. Hamm owned approximately 320 acres of land on the Duwamish River and other property in California.

For at least a short period in 06/1903, the Butler Hotel, under the management of Hamm and Schmitz, went out of business.

John E. Savage (born c. 1883 in Pullman, WA) owned the Hotel Butler in 1925; in addition he also owned and operated the Hotel Spokane and the Hotel Tacoma in that year. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1925, p. 1149.) Previously, Savage had managed and resided in the New Hotel Cecil at 1019 1st Avenue in 1916 (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1916, p. 1362.) Four years later, he did the same at the Hotel Mitchell in Seattle according to the 1920 US Census. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Seattle, King, Washington; Roll: T625_1929; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 235, accessed 10/03/2018.)

Savage owned the Butler in 1930, when the US Census of that year was taken on 04/10/1930. This document indicated that he valued the building at $750,000. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Seattle, King, Washington; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0135; FHL microfilm: 2342233, accessed 10/03/2018.) It closed for one year between 1929-1930. The Butler Hotel survived until 09/05/1933, when the Depression undermined its financial stability. Hotel property was sold at auction on 01/15/1934.

Building Notes

In 1891, the box house owner and restaurateur George K. Beede (1844-1900) operated his Beede's Cafe in the Butler Building #2. (See Polk's Seattle Directory Company's Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1891, p. 154.)

During Prohibition, the Rose Room of the Butler Hotel gained notoriety for its flouting of alcohol laws.

Located on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and James Street, the Butler Building had a taxable value of $12,200,000 in 2010, and was owned by Walton Street Capital, L L C, of Chicago, IL.


Two more stories were added to the original five-story building in 1903.

In the late 1930s, the upper 5 floors were removed and the rest of the building was remodeled into a garage. Only the first two stories faced with rusticated ashlar were retained. Remodeling of the storefronts and reconstruction of the garage occurred in 2000 under the ownership of Sam Israel's Samis Foundation, a major Downtown Seattle landowner. Samis owned the Butler Garage between 11/11/1997 and 07/19/2001, and in 1998 indicated to the press that it was undertaking renovations in the 14 buildings it owned in Pioneer Square. A significant renovation was done on the Smith Tower, a Samis property, in 1998, and the reconstruction of the Butler Garage was conceived to serve as parking for its neighbor. According to the King County, the current garage configuration has 12 stories.