The Bus(c)h Hotel

The “Modern Fireproof” Bush Hotel as seen today

When you come out of the station in International District today and head east, you will probably spot the “Modern Fire Proof” Bush Hotel. Today, it is Section 8 housing for lower income residents, but it did not start out this way.

A clipping from the Seattle Daily Times October 10, 1915

In fact, it didn’t even start out as the “Bush” Hotel. When it was built in 1915, William Chappell named it the “Busch” Hotel, as can be seen in the newspaper clipping advertising the new hotel below.  Beginning the very next year in 1916, women’s clubs began hosting events in the Busch Hotel, including a post card party. After the name was changed in 1921, it was renovated with “local products,” likely local lumber and finishes.

The “Busch” Hotel is seen down the street. Property of the Museum of History and Industry

In 1926, according to an article in the Seattle Times from 1976, one Kemekichi Shibayama leased the building for thirty-five thousand dollars and reconditioned it for sixty-five thousand. However, as the Depression and Second World War came up, Mr. Shibayama had to give up the hotel for a time.

In 1978, articles in the Seattle Times began discussing the renovations of the International District overall. The Bush Hotel (wrongfully referred to as a “pre-1910 building”) was being looked at as a new community center as the upper levels had not been used for years. City officials were concerned about the integrity of the building. As of September, 1978, the Times announced plans to convert the hotel into a mixed purposed building including residential rooms and community spaces as it had been acquired by the city and they had gained federal funding to create more affordable housing developments in the District.

The Bush Hotel c. 1925

Today, the Hotel still stands as one of the most prominent buildings in the International District, having survived through multiple renovations since its original opening in 1915, and now serves as affordable housing.

The Bush Hotel as it underwent innovations in 2005

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