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Bell Apartments

Bell Apartments

206 Bell St, Seattle (WA), United States

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(206) 367-3037

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Description The Bell Apartments, also known as the Austin A. Bell Building is a historic building located at 2326 1st Avenue in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle Washington. The building was named for Austin Americus Bell, son of one of Seattle's earliest pioneers, but built under the supervision of his wife Eva following Bell's unexpected suicide in 1889 soon after proposing the building. It was designed with a mix of Richardsonian, Gothic and Italianate design elements by notable northwest architect, Elmer Fisher, who designed many of Seattle's commercial buildings following the Great Seattle fire.The Bell Building, along with the adjacent Barnes and Hull buildings, form the nucleus of a development attempt in Belltown in the 1890s that never materialized. Early on, the building earned the moniker of Bell's Folly for being built so far away from the central business district in the then underdeveloped and economically depressed Belltown neighborhood, named for Bell's father, William Nathaniel Bell, once landowner of the entire north end of Seattle. The area today is considered the heart of Belltown and the Bell building remains one of Belltown's most historic landmarks.The building fell into disrepair throughout most of the 20th century, eventually losing its massive cornice to a fire in 1913. The building was first surveyed in June 1969 and included on the Municipal Art Commission List of Historic Buildings, at which time it was nominated for inclusion on the National Register. It was finally listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1974. It also became a Seattle City Landmark in 1978. The upper floors stayed vacant until the 1990s, sustaining much weather damage in the meantime and later being destroyed by fire. Most of the building was rebuilt behind the main facade in 1997-8 and now houses condominiums with a Starbucks Coffee on the first level.