The mysterious case of the missing Iliad Apartments lion of Bellevue Ave

A landmark of Bellevue Ave has gone missing — and when a giant Homeric white lion goes missing, people notice.

We have some good news about the Iliad lion. The lion shall return.

“We were going to take it off,” Iliad manager Mike told CHS. “We were just going to get rid of it. I convinced the owner to restore the sign.”

Mike tells us he sent out a survey to residents. “What do you think about the lion?” it asked. Like the rest of the Hill, some thought it looked old, tired and shabby. Everybody else loved it so. Mike said he made the case to restore it despite high costs. People don’t make signs like the Iliad lion these days, Mike said.

According to the Iliad manager, the building’s owner commissioned an artist to create the lion sign years ago. It had since begun to rot and was falling to pieces. The lion lost an ear in a past windstorm — “I saved the ear,” Mike says — and was on its last legs as a building overhaul approached. It looked like the lion might have to go.

“Nah, you can’t do that,” Mike said. “Everybody loves the lion.”

We’re told the lion is now in good hands and undergoing rehab. Mike says the restored lion should return to his proper space above Bellevue Ave in a few weeks.

Thanks to neighbor Lauren for the tip.

The Iliad, originally uploaded by JTContinental.
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15 thoughts on “The mysterious case of the missing Iliad Apartments lion of Bellevue Ave

  1. Many moons ago, my guy and I used to live in the Iliad. Love it there! Mike and Fran, if you’re still there…we send our best regards! We used to live next door to you on the 4th floor.

  2. I look at that thing every day when walking to the 8 on Bellevue towards Denny. How I didn’t notice it was gone is beyond me, but I’m really glad to hear it’s getting restored. I’ve known LOTS of people who live there or lived here.

  3. This makes me so happy! Little landmarks like the lion are important to keep, as it helps the city and the neighborhood retain it’s character…so happy they are spending the money to restore it!

  4. glad to hear it is coming back. it has been a longtime favorite of mine, but i didn’t even notice it missing, myself. a few days ago, my 6yo daughter asked from the back seat, ‘where is the white cat?’ she will be happy to know he is returning.

  5. I live across the street, the lion nicely framed by my window. When I moved in I hated the shabby thing, but soon I loved it. With a bit of repair and a fresh coat, I’m sure he’ll be his grand retro self again, and my home will have a new piece of artwork.

  6. I used to live on Summit and Thomas and was SO SAD to see the lion was gone. He SO reminds me of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. I googled “Seattle Iliad Lion” intending to see if he’d been put in an architectural salvage store so we could go buy him.