Requiem for the last Capitol Hill funeral home: Bonney Watson demolition underway

It is a funeral, of sorts. Unworthy of landmark status and in the way of a development that will create twin seven-story buildings with more than 200 units of market rate housing along with more than 16,000 square feet of new commercial space on Broadway, Capitol Hill’s Bonney Watson funeral home is being torn down this week.

The demolition of the 1961-constructed modern-style building the landmarks board called underwhelming, boxy, and, depressing is underway after the mortuary business active in Seattle since 1868 departed Capitol Hill for good last year.

In 2013, CHS reported on Bonney Watson’s place on Broadway and in Capitol Hill history. 30 years ago, the busy mortuary handled around 600 deaths annually. In recent years, business had dropped off to around 300 per year.

It might not have mattered. With the March 2016 opening of Capitol Hill Station, transforming the blocks surrounding the busy transit center kicked into higher gear. The twin buildings set to replace Bonney Watson will join the four more under construction set to spring up around Capitol Hill Station.

UPDATENora Menkin, executive director of 12th Ave’s People’s Memorial reminds us that there is still a local option:

The Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial located just across the park at 12th and Howell remains to serve Capitol Hill and greater Seattle/ King County residents. The Co-op Funeral Home has been here since 2007 and is the only cooperative funeral home in Washington State and the largest cooperative funeral home in the country. It is a one-time, lifetime member fee of $50 per person. While members receive a discounted rate on cremation and burial services, the funeral home serves all. In 2018, 869 families used our services making us one of the highest volume funeral homes in the city and state. Please let your readers know that they have us as a resource and option for their funeral plans.

The demolition involves one of the more significant recent efforts on the Hill. The latest wave of buildings to be torn down has mostly involved smaller structures. As with every time a building comes down in Seattle, the permitting process comes along with requirements related to materials and disposal. It also included a pest abatement program for the rodents living “underneath stumps, sidewalks and rocks” around the building.

The arrival of chain link fencing had cut down on people camping out around the building but didn’t do much to deter taggers who seemed to increase their efforts in the former mortuary’s final days.

The new Modera Broadway project from Mill Creek Residential will include around 200 apartment units plus a set of live/work spaces on the Cal Anderson side of the Weber Thompson designed project that are hoped to eventually house a few small businesses on the edge of the park. Maybe one can be a sales office for Capitol Hill human composting startup Recompose.

The Modera Broadway project will rise on both sides of E Howell with one building on the site of the surface parking lot to the north and the southern twin rising where Bonney Watson is being torn down today. While the nearby light rail station is part of the draw, the project will also include underground parking for around 100 vehicles. Modera Broadway — sorry, Modera Cap Hill was taken for a Denver project — will also harken back to this neighborhood’s auto row history — not its mortuary past — for its design finishes and materials with a mix of brick and sheet metal.

 

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9 thoughts on “Requiem for the last Capitol Hill funeral home: Bonney Watson demolition underway

  1. It’ll be nice to have the streetscape complete from John to Pike Street, at least on the east side. I hope SEATTLE Central will come up with a good design for their parcel across the street.

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