In 1903, the Butterworth building opened as the Butterworth and Son’s mortuary, and over the years, its gathered ample history and its fair share of paranormal occurrences.
In 1983, Kell’s Irish Pub opened in the basement of the Butterworth building. Due to the steep-hilled terrain of downtown Seattle, one side of the building, located at 1921 First Avenue, is three stories high while the other side, facing Post Alley, is five stories high. The entrance to Kell’s is on the Post Alley side of the building and is said to operate out of what once was the mortuary’s former embalming room and crematorium.
The Butterworth and Son’s mortuary operated out of the Butterworth building from 1903 to 1923 when the business relocated to a more fitting location. The mortuary was a successful business and home to the very first body transport elevator on the west coast. However, there was a dark secret regarding the business’s involvement with Washington’s first known female serial killer, Linda Burfield Hazzard.
Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard
Linda Burfield Hazzard, or Dr. Hazzard, lived her life committed to her profession as a licensed fasting specialist despite no formal medical degree or training. Hazzard believed ailments were caused by food and that a person’s digestive system required rest. Hazzard accomplished this practice by requiring her patients to fast for extreme lengths of time, only allowing them to consume vegetable broth.
Hazzard’s extreme practices would eventually come under investigation thanks to two of her patients who paid a terrible price for their treatment. A pair of wealthy sisters, Claire and Dorothea Williamson discovered Dr. Hazzard during their stay at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. While the two weren’t necessarily ill, they were often known to practice alternative methods of medicine and thought Hazzard’s care could cure them of minor afflictions.
The sisters were placed in a hotel on Capitol Hill in Seattle where twice daily, they were given tomato broth to consume and were subjected to brutally long enemas that would occasionally lead to them losing consciousness. After two months, the pair were relocated to the Hazzard’s home in Olalla, Washington. They weighed only seventy pounds each.
It was at this time that a family member of the sisters traveled to the North West to check in on them. Dr. Hazzard’s husband informed the family member that Claire had died during treatment. Though, he and his wife insisted it was due to a prior ailment and not a result of the extreme medical practice Claire was undergoing.
After Claire’s death, her family was horrified to learn that Dr. Hazzard had forged her will and gained control over Claire’s plentiful estate. Hazzard had also appointed herself as Dorothea’s legal guardian. It took a visit from the sisters’ uncle and one thousand dollars for Dr. Hazzard’s agreement to let Dorothea go.
Butterworth and Son’s mortuary embalmed and displayed Claire Williamson’s body, but something wasn’t quite right. The features of the body on display, including the hair color and facial structure, did not look like Claire. It was widely believed that the mortuary had cremated Claire and displayed a healthier-looking body for the viewing as Claire was so frail at her time of death.
In 1912, Linda Burfield Hazzard was convicted of manslaughter for the death of Claire Williamson. However, more than forty people died while undergoing her extreme treatment methods. During the trial, it was revealed that Hazzard was connected to multiple deaths involving wealthy individuals similar to the Williamson sisters. She served two years in the Washington State Penitentiary before being released on parole on December 26, 1915. One year later in 1916, she received a full pardon from Governor Ernest Lister.
As for the mortuary’s repercussions for their involvement in the case, one employee of the Butterworth and Son’s mortuary plead guilty to the illegal removal of Claire’s body from Olalla, Washington. Though, the mortuary was never actually charged for the part they played in trying to deceive Claire’s loved ones after her death.
Due to its long and eventful history, there have been multiple accounts of paranormal occurrences at Kell’s Irish Pub. There are even a few spirits who have made themselves well-known.
Linda Burfield Hazzard is said to remain in the Butterworth building, and there have been reports from staff and patrons of footsteps, temperature drops, doors opening and closing, and general feelings of unease. However, Dr. Hazzard isn’t alone in Kell’s Irish Pub.
Other spirits known as regulars at the pub include a young girl with red hair who flourishes during the daylight hours when minors are allowed in the pub. She often moves objects and wants to play with other children. It’s thought that she died during the Seattle influenza outbreak in 1918.
Another frequently sighted apparition at Kell’s appears to enjoy the liveliness of the pub’s live music nights, as he is often spotted in one of the bar’s Guinness mirrors. He’s an older gentleman known as Charlie and is recognizable to those who witness him by his signature derby cap.
Culture and Television
Kell’s Irish Pub is a popular tourist spot and has made it on Seattle ghost tours including Seattle Terrors, where attendees can learn about the history of the Butterworth building and possibly even share a paranormal experience or two.
In 2010, Kell’s Irish Pub was featured on an episode of the popular series, “Ghost Adventures,” where they found evidence of the pub’s rumored hauntings.
Thus, our visit to Kell’s Irish Pub in Seattle’s well-known Pike Place Market is over. However, the long and sometimes dark history of the Butterworth building will continue on, highlighting the dichotomy between the lively, cheerful pub and the macabre of the past.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Kell’s Irish Pub is located at 1916, Post Alley, Seattle, Washington 98101
Can I host private events at Kell’s Irish Pub?
Yes, Kell’s Irish Pub accommodates small-scale and large-scale private events.
Is there parking?
Parking around Kell’s Irish Pub includes metered, street parking, and nearby parking garages.
Can I learn more about the history during my visit?
Yes, the Butterworth building is on the Historical Register and is also a part of popular walking tours.
Are there souvenirs?
Yes, Kell’s Irish Pub offers a wide variety of souvenirs both in the pub and online.