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Capitol Hill LGBTQ landmark the Gaslight Inn hits market for $3.5M

(Image: NWMLS)

A Capitol Hill landmark and a temporary home away from home for hundreds of travelers every year who visit the neighborhood, The Gaslight Inn is on the market.

A listing for the 15th Ave property went up this week. The price? $3.5 million — a small price for a 108-year-old piece of Capitol Hill history, no?

Here’s the marketing pitch:

The GASLIGHT INN(Circa 1910), a beautifully maintained Historic Landmark 8 suite (plus lower level owner’s floor w/3 bedrooms + office) in-city Boutique is ready for its next proprietor. Interior public spaces are graced by magnificent Oak millwork, stained & beveled glass windows, built-in cabinetry, & 3 gas fireplaces. The exterior is centered around the pool; a wisteria draped arbor and Koi pond. Strong book of clientele provides a stable base with the opportunity to grow.

In 2015, the house was approved for landmarks protections. Gaslight owner Stephen Bennett, who nominated the building, told CHS at the time he was elated at the board’s decision and recognition of the building’s important place in Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ history. Back then, Bennett said he’s looking forward to living out his retirement with the house and his bed and breakfast business. “I don’t have any family or children, so I would like to leave it to a civic organization,” he said. “I want it kept in the community.” We’ll follow up to learn more about the decision to list the property.

The Gaslight’s reflection of Capitol Hill’s changing role in the city over the past century– especially the city’s LGBTQ history — was integral to the landmark designation.

The 3-story, 7,700-square-foot house was built for $7,000 in 1907, a time when Capitol Hill was primarily the neighborhood of choice for city Seattle’s wealthy entrepreneurs. It was built by Paul Singerman, a business owner and philanthropist who was also a notable character in the Central Area’s Jewish history. By the 1920s, the building had become a rooming house — a precursor to the boom of multi-unit dwellings that would popup during the Great Depression.

Bennett bought the home in 1983 and began improvements. Two years later, he opened the Gaslight Inn. Since then, Bennett said the house has assumed a somewhat iconic role in the neighborhood’s LGBTQ community, from its time as a refuge for grieving families coming to the area to bury loved ones during the AIDS criss, to its use for political events for Cal Anderson, the state’s first openly gay legislator, and, later, Mayor Ed Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor.

The house is also the embodiment of the blood, sweat, and tears that queer residents and allies put into the neighborhood.  Longtime Gaslight employee John Fox told CHS in 2015 that many gay couples bought similar rundown houses to fix them up as their own In the formative years of the Capitol Hill gayborhood.

“It’s how the gay community used to live,” he said back then. “We remember a time when you weren’t necessarily welcomed everywhere and this was our way of making something nice in our neighborhood.”

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10 thoughts on “Capitol Hill LGBTQ landmark the Gaslight Inn hits market for $3.5M

  1. With Airbnb legal in Seattle it’s going to be a slow death from traditional b&b.

    Not sure who wants to drop $3.5m and then have to run a guest house. Maybe spend $1.5m on a nice house and live off the other $2m ?

      • I’ve just registered my Airbnb with the city, so I’m fully aware. The regs are not very strong, no real proof of ownership required. The biggest barrier is the crappy IT system you have to use to register…

    • Actually that isn’t true in the case of the Gaslight. Great revenue and occupancy in spite of the seemingly millions of crappy Airbnb units on Capitol Hill. European travelers ( even the young ones) are a HUGE part of the business. Truly fine properties in great locations are going to weather the Airbnb cancer just fine.

  2. The memory loss nursing home across from Trader Joe’s on 17th and Madison is for sale if someone wants to make a B&B!
    14 rooms 8 baths. All fenced in and next to a bus stop. It’s in really good condition. Think it’s about the same price.

  3. This is an absolutely gorgeous property, and thanks to Stephen Bennett it has been beautifully maintained and landmarked. Thanks to him for such a great commitment to our community!

    • Thank you to the people who put the B7B together and have beautifully maintained the house, and installed the wonderful landscaping. Thank goodness this is a historic landmark!

  4. Oh I am so sad about this. My mom has always stayed there when visiting and I’ve gotten to see many of the rooms. This is a gorgeous B&B and I hope that someone would still want to own and operate it with the care that Stephen Bennett and his staff have.