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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What Will Happen to the House?

Posted by on March 29 at 6:00 AM

I’m surprised that this issue hasn’t been raised yet, but what will happen to the blue house?

Jeffrey Dahmer murdered many—but not all—of his 17 victims in this four-story apartment building where he lived in Milwaukee, which was torn down after Dahmer was caught. There’s an empty lot today where Dahmer’s apartment building once stood.

I thought of Dahmer’s apartment when I looked at a picture of the blue house before our issue went to press last night. I thought, Could anyone live in that blue house now? Would anyone buy it? Should we be talking about tearing it down? That empty lot in Milwaukee is not a fitting memorial to Dahmer’s victims, and I don’t think an empty lot would be a fitting memorial to Kyle Huff’s victims. But I can’t imagine anyone slapping a coat of paint on to that house and moving in like nothing happened.

So what’s to become of the house?

[I originally posted this Tuesday night at 9 P.M., but I moved it to Wednesday A.M. so that it wouldn’t get lost—and because Megan’s post about the gathering at the blue house was a better note to end Tuesday’s Slogging on than mine.]

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Consider what happens to any real estate which is the scene of a multiple-homicide. Other houses, Denny's, Luby's Cafeteria etc etc There's your answer.

And I don't know that answer -- but I suspect it's not much. The market discounts for the tragedy. Time passes. People forget.

But it's an interesting question.

Dan you bring up an important question, one that hadn't even crossed my mind in the last few days. If the house is taken down, we need something there as a memorial for our 6 killed there, for their friends, their families, and for the neighbours on that block that during those few minutes after 7am Saturday, the neighbours didn't turn the kids running for help away. I don't know where this is going but I wanted to write after seeing you bring up that question to see that something will happen. Being in the middle of block, making a park is probably not the best idea with it being a lure to the homeless etc.. What about some sort of a garden that people around there can tend to? That way a garden would forever bring "life" to that spot where so much "death" was brought on. There could a small fence of some sort with their names put on it. Would there be a way to suggest this to someone? I would be willing to help in any way to see something done in the future. My email is

I hate to sound mercenary, but if it got discounted enough, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, knowing full well that the currently gruesome reputation will fade over time, and perhaps even garner the house a bit of celebrity in the future that could increase the value.

I think a community garden or a p-patch is a great idea, Jason.

I think the pea patch is a good idea too. Just from a practical perspective, memorials cost a lot (here in Denver they're still trying to raise money for a Columbine memorial), so for a pea patch all they need is enough money to buy the property (unless the owner donates it), demolish the house, and establish a garden.

dan, i was wondering the same thing tonight after my morbid curiosity led me to the crime scene.

i agree with the idea of a garden or pea patch. wondering how neighbors feel about it? am i correct in saying most of the homes on the block are not rentals?

i also was thinking of dahmer's spot in milwaukee, as i work for a company that is headquartered just blocks away. it is still creepy to go by it, all these years later.

That section of Capitol Hill could use a p-patch, too. There's always a huge wait list for the one off Broadway at Thomas, and other nearest one is on the other side of Madison - like a quarter mile south - on 19th. It would be well used and loved, and I'm sure the city would support it if the $ were there.

Jason's idea > other ideas

From what I hear, most of the block are homeowners and I am sure would love to have the garden or patch there. A lot of those neighbours were there during it and it could be something to help them heal as well. I'd like to see where this goes if others agree, please keep in touch. Thanks.

The property value definitely took a big hit; it's now a stigmatized property. The owner would have to disclose the crime to any potential buyer. The real estate market is so tight, however, that, IMHO, it would still get offers and wouldn't have to be demoed.

I had wondered whether anyone from the press had contacted the owner of the house yet to see what his plans were.

According to public records, the house and land are valued at $340,000...up from the $211,000 it sold for in 2001.

You gotta wonder whether the owner wants to hang on or bail.

I don't get the point of a community garden or any kind of memorial.

Why is this tragedy any more tragic than any murders? Why not a park for the victims of the Green River Killer?

I don't mean to demean or diminish this event in any way but the view from outside the hot-house of Capitol Hill is that there are crazy people around and they do awful things.

I don't believe that this event has any special significance except to the dead and their family, friends etc. There are murders all the time in Seattle. This one has volume. But otherwise it's just a murder.

Maybe someone could explain why the event should be memorialized through a garden, park etc? I don't get it.

About two months ago, the Seatte Times re-ran (from another paper) an interesting article on people who had bought houses where murders had occurred. Some people were told that, up front, and got a substantial reduction in price. Others found out only when they moved in and neighbors told them what had happened, prior to their living there.
The blue house should perhaps be torn down and some sort of memorial put there; to remind people what happened and encourage them to learn something from it. But in this city, consumed and run by a running pack of jackel greedheads and hustlers, don't count on it. More likely, a coat of paint and other attempts to fluff it up, and it will sell to someone who moves here, finding out about it only through Craig's (sic) list or some other scam.

David Sucher is the same guy whose decision to develop the building where the old Honeybear and a great neighborhood grocery was, essentially destroyed both; talk about greedheads and duplicitous weasels. Look for this guy to buy the land where the blue house now stands, tear it down and sell it to some other swine to build condos on.

" remind people what happened and encourage them to learn something from it."

Well, we know what happened at the crudest level.
But we don't know any of the subtleties. much can draw any lesson from it. And may never be able to to.

So what would we learn? Be in bed by ten? Don't go places? Avoid people from Montana? The tragedy here seems to be a purely personal one: a crazy man and his victims. (And I hope no one starts in with gun-control because that would apply to many many murders.) What is unique about these murders? Quantity?


i'd buy it, if the owner is interested in selling it. it would be so easy to rent the place to more kids. i mean, their chances of being shot would be less likely because lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

oh wait, the space needle has been struck by lightning many times.

Perhaps they should just implode it and then sell pieces of it on eBay, much like the Kingdome.

If every property in the city of Seattle that had witnessed a murder were converted to a pea-patch memorial, I'd wager that the majority of the city would be farmland by now.

I feel for the victims of this crime, but if the site of the twin towers can be redeveloped, then I think that this property can (and probably should) be redeveloped as well.

considering the house is privately owned--who cares.. it's not our house.

one thing is for certain, we should be focused on those who were directly and indirectly affected by this--not material posessions.

i'd move in. and i'd keep the house just as warm and full as jeremy always did.

I think the house should remain standing. Why? Well for one, myself and many others have very fond memories of that house. You see, I used to live in that house with my brother and sister about 6 years ago. When we lived there, we named it the "House of Burning Love". It was such a great family house. We had many a wonderful party in that house.

The tragedy that has befallen the families, the neighborhood and the house should not be forgotten. But tearing it down is not going to prevent tragedies such as this from happening again.

As I look at all the pictures I have of all the Pride Parties, Graduations, Birthdays and other celebrations held in the blue and white bungalow, I will never forget the pain that the families of these kids will have to endure for the rest of their lives.

I hope the families will eventually find peace and be able to one day get on with their lives.

I feel sorry for the owner of it. He or she will do what they want with it, but man, what bad luck for him or her. My mother lives down the street from where Jeffrey Dahmer grew up and killed his first victim in Bath, Ohio. More than any other house on that street, people are always buying and selling that house. It will always be marked.

I think it is kind of sick to suggest demolishing the house because of a memory. People die in houses all the time. It seems to be part of the perverse American homeowner ethic to only want a freshly built house with no history at all.

What would a european perspective be, for a crime in a 600 year old house, that has plenty of history before, and is structurally fit for plenty of history to follow?

If the landlord of this house put it up for bid to non-profits, to create a statement, then I think it would be entirely possible that the NRA would be the high bidder.

How could you control the message, unless you buy the land?

Terry Parkhurst.
It appears that you have been grossly misinformed.
If you will contact me via my blog I will be happy to set the record straight.

I don't think you actually have to disclose that a crime took place in your house when you sell it.

I like the idea of leaving the house standing and keeping it full of good people, warmth, and happiness.

agreed that not every site of a murderous crime can or should be turned into a memorial of sorts. i do, however, think this situation is extraordinary and deserves some thought.

again, i go back to the neighbors. the homeowners on that block should have some say in what happens with that property. they are the ones that live there and will continue to do so, long after the news trucks and police tape are gone.

ask the neighbors over by the former cobain home how they feel about folks traipsing through the hood to "remember" kurt. yes, i know - not the same sort of crime but, still.

houses do indeed become "marked." i lived in a rental house in the u. district that was shot up in a drive-by. it was terrifying, and miraculous that no one was hurt. we moved within three weeks, even though chances were slim that it would happen again.

odds didn't matter - a sense of safety and peace had been shattered. living on the same block as 2112 changed dramatically for those residents on saturday morning and their feelings should be taken into consideration.

Interesting question, however I think in the end it is up to the owner to do with it what s/he wants. In the end, they own the property, and I'm not sure, despite the way this crime has captured all of Seattle's attention, that anyone except for the owners can make the call on the future of the house.

Personally, if I knew one of the people killed, I'm not sure I'd need a physical memorial to symbolize them or my grief. I'd carry that in my soul.

actually there is a p-patch about 1.5 blocks away from 2112, between 19th and 20th on republican.

i owned that house along with its current owner from 1996-2001 (sold out and left the country in 2001). last saturday, the press contacted me in south america...looking for the current owner (who was also out of the country). I felt like i was punched in the stomach when I heard what happened; I vomitted shortly thereafter. I lived in that house with several friends (including a year with both sisters) and we hosted numerous parties there ourselves. I built that bathroom on the top floor where the women hid...and painted the walls that saw these horrors. I know each corner of that house so intimately that even though I know longer own it, I'm filled with sadness as it had always been such a happy place and now is stained. I spoke with the current owner yesterday...he's in shock. Also filled with grief for the families, and has not even thought about his investment yet; that seems to be the least of his current worries.

Whatever they do, I think it needs to be painted a new color.

This is Seattle, folks. If the house is gonna be on the market, there will be a line for it. Esp. at 340k.

Upeksha- thank you for chiming in. The current owner sounds like the kind of landlord I would like to have.

Yes, I'd like to 2nd the appreciation of Upeksha's response. There seems to be a vast need for speculation on this issue, right down to what people think should happen with someone else's property. Perhaps the owner may gain some perspective as to what to do with their violated house from these posts, but I think it's inappropriate to assume anything in the way of action.

I believe the house where Kurt Cobain died has been turned into a memorial and it was worth millions, so Seattle people are not always about the bottom line.

The homeowner sounds like a good man. It would be sick to make money selling a home like that, and I'll bet he'd be willing to donate the property for a neighborhood youth center with a space for the memorial sculpture.

The only right thing to do would be to give the property away for after what happened there that home belongs to the Capital Hill community, and our cherished memories of the loved ones we lost.

No normal person would purchase, much less live in a place like that.

pea patch? are you kidding me? it's prime seattle real estate.

how about this for an idea: the owner just continues renting the damn thing out.

I think the house should be rebuilt with love. My brother and sister have both written in, and my brother owned taht house for 6 years, 5 of which I lived in there. IT was always such a happy place filled with love, parties, music, singing....just like the family of friends that occupy it now. My heart is so saddened by the horrors the walls and its occupants have had to witness....but she can be rebuilt...not sure how, but that house stood for love...I live in Chicago now and my group of friends are all spread out...I miss you all very much and cry when I think of the community around 2112 and that I can't be there....I'm there in spirit....

"I believe the house where Kurt Cobain died has been turned into a memorial and it was worth millions, so Seattle people are not always about the bottom line."

no, the house on lake washington were the great kurt cobain lived was remodeled and sold by the widow cobain for millions in profits. it is occupied by an insanely rich person who doesnt like people coming by.

all the thoughts are great, and express compassion and solidartity with the victims, but the free market is heartless, and it lacks compassion, time will pass, the house will sell or get torn down, and considering its location it will be worth at least a million in about 5 years.

This place is going to have to be torn down.

Regrettably, it's near proximity to Broadway, the fact that two of the victims were so young and that this attack was on an counter culture all create a recipe for this to be very strange tourist destination.

Ultimately Capitol Hill already has too many magnetic attractions for homeless youth, we do not need to create another.

the house is nowhere near broadway, it's on the other side of capitol hill. not everythign on capitol hill is near broadway. this occurred in one of the plushest capitol hill neighborhoods that have no outward signs of "homeless youth" anywhere within blocks near it.

Smokey, I know exactly where the house is.

I've lived on Capitolhill for ten years and own property between 20th and 21st and a street nearby.

Basically, if what I am hearing is correct, your agrument is that this "plush" neighborhood is immune to becoming a a shrine.

I would submit that the Cobain house was in a much "plusher" neighborhood and this has been a destination for lost souls for 12 years now. People are constantly being escorted out of the park across the street and it is impossible to go past that home without seeing someone standing out front. Even after the garage and in-law apartment were torn down in an effort to disguise the property.

Additionally, in the seattle housing market, a home valued at $340,000 is far from the "plushest".

The House in question is easily a walkable distance from Broadway.

In fact, I am quite certain that if you drive by the residence this morning (you'll have to walk the final couple blocks), there is a crowd currently in front of the residence.

My point is this. Regrettably, after incidents such as this, these properties beckon those fascinated by these dark subjects.

As you have pointed out with your "plush" characterization of this neighborhood. Do you really want to have this sort of attraction in that neighborhood?

Don't you feel it will create a feeling that is less than "plush"?

Upeksha, Karen, et al.:

Some people are generously attempting to arrange for cleaning of the house and need to contact the landlord or property manager. They'd probably be appreciative of any contact information you could provide. See the NWTekno thread I cited to get in touch with them.

it is impossible to go past that home without seeing someone standing out front.

absolutely untrue. a wee exageration, at best. there is not a bunch of "lost souls' hanging out in front of the cobain house. i run by there everyday on my way back to madison valley, i rarely see anybody standing there and nobody is escorted out of the park next door because ahh, duh, its a public space. in the begining there were more people trying to peek in, but that is hardly the case now. time has taken care of the amount of people that show up.

"The House in question is easily a walkable distance from Broadway. "

yes, but you and i both know that it is not a destination for lost souls and street youth you fear so much. it is a residential neighborhood and it attracts no such people, there is nothing in a residential neighborhood that will attract the lost souls you fear. even if a respectful shrine to the victims was built, you will not see hundreds of ravers crowding the streets. i have many friends near there and it is as residential as a neighborhood gets, its close proximity to the mansions on aloha just makes its properity value climb.

"In fact, I am quite certain that if you drive by the residence this morning (you'll have to walk the final couple blocks), there is a crowd currently in front of the residence."

so what? i see nothing wrong with the current signs of grief and respect and im sure the neighbors dont see a problem.

i would say, if its a three bedroom house its value is closer to 400 instead of 340, even houses in madison valley are going through the roof.

the house is too valuable to its owner and theyre not going to donate it for an alturistic cause. i would say a memorial in the roundabout or near the miller community center would be the likely outcome. the house, will sell in time or get torn down. the free market is a mo-fo

To those who think nothing should be done... These murders are unique. Not in the sense that they're different from other mass murders, but from your average big city murder where there's some clear motive (money, jealousy, whatever). Columbine High School still is active because the community came together and wanted to show that they were still standing. The Twin Towers are being redeveloped as a way of saying Fuck You to the terrorists. Both were public places and I'm sure that has tons to do with why one is still in use and the other is being rebuilt.

Homes, on the other hand, are much more disturbing when they're sites of murder. After all how can you feel safe and secure in a place where six people died at a psycho's hand? When I was a kid my parents passed on a really nice house near Denver's largest park because it was the site of a murder-suicide.

The point is, homes are much more stigmatized by crimes of this magnatude. No one remembers individual murders; but as long as there's Capitol Hill people will remember this and be disturbed by it. I think the reason for this post is to ensure that whatever happens, the place doesn't turn into a vacant lot.

I am not saying tear it sdown and leave an empty lot.

However, mopping up the bloodstains and moving back in is not an option either.

Not to sound too religious or anything, but (In my opinion) this place needs an exorcism, then needs to be torn down and something else built in it's place.

Clearing up one thing - the house is worth (or was before Saturday) probably double the $340K a previous poster mentioned. The selling price in 2001 was essentially for half the value of the property (a co-owner selling out his share).

I've also spent wonderful time in the house (in the HOBL era), and have very very fond memories that are now, inevitably, coloured by the horrific events of the past weekend. I'm lucky though - I haven't lost those who made it so special to me, and if there's any lesson at all that I can take from this tragedy it's that I need to let those I love know how much they mean to me, and that we all need to live each day as fully as possible.

Could I ever live there, spend time there again? Probably not, but honestly that's more due to my overactive imagination than anything else. Is it in any way disrespectful to the memories of the good folk who died there for others to make it a home again and fill it with music and laughter and love? I don't believe so - in fact, the house has a legacy of love and community that I think would honour them were it to be renewed.

The neighborhood was clensed of six hippies. Good riddance. Loud parties and weirdos hanging around drive down property values.

If were ever going to get a Pearl District type environment around Broadway, these hippie street kids need to get out.

With the right kind of development property values could be in the millions. They are in Pearl District.

Also Pearl District used to be real sleazy and there were plenty of murders there, but they didn't go building memorials everywhere.

Why attract more smelly hippies with a monument when this is a great time to drive them out of town?

dumbguy -- i mean someguy:

i didn't give you any "argument" so don't assume that i did. what i did was merely point out the inaccuracies in your stupidass post.

Yay, he's back! How's the hatred of life going, HH?


It seems the "inaccracies" have completely been debunked

You folks are misreading the property report. The house is currently assessed at $489,000, not $340,000. The latter figure is just for the improvements; the rest is for the land. Nobody's going to buy one without the other. And nobody is going to just walk away from a $500K house. It will be lived in. That's not cold-hearted; it's just common sense. It's a house. The people who died there are not there anymore.

Well I'm seeing the assessed value at $597,000.

But at any rate, this is private property and the current owner should do with it however he pleases.

Any real estate people out there have experience with this kind of property.

Wondering if an owner could gain some value in making an offer to take the property "as is" and then doing whatever clean up is necessary.

Are the murders really going to affect property values much in this neighborhood? If Seattle isn't all that religious or superstitious It's possible a person could get a great deal on the place, the tenants have already left or would be willing to move out soon (I hope) so no worry about leases there.

I mean it could be much worse, like white trash neighbors with cars up on blocks or something.

Yay, HIPPIE HATER/CHICAGO KID/NOT A RAVER! I was wondering when you'd show up again. (Of course, I also wonder how many other names you post under, but a quick search for key phrases such as "smelly hippie", "story of the decade", "Capital [sic] Hill", and "sip your latte" ought to answer that for me.)

You know, I have a gut feeling you're the same person that created the fake Kyle Huff profile on Myspace. And since that profile has one "friend", a guy named Beau, and no one in their right mind would accept a friend request from a murderer's profile, I bet "Beau" created that fake profile for shits and grins. Which would make you him. Let me know if I'm on the right track here.

Say if someone knows "Terry Parkhurst," please tell him that I would like him to contact me via my blog. Thanks.

i won't speak for the current owner (but will refer him to this blog) but current indications are that there's no immediate plans to sell the place (let alone donate it). he's a decent guy but has bills like the rest of us (meaning that i'm not sure he could take a loss like that; he's not a big-business dude...). anyhow, it's interesting to see the spectrum of reactions here, and i find myself agreeing with (nearly) everyone to some extent. even the anti-hippy dude...i mean...not exactly...but i have to admit that every time i was in seattle and passed that house over the past 5 years i cringed at the site of the kegs on the porch, the overgrown garden, the general downslide; it had changed from owner-occupied to a rental. also, that house was in mint condition inside (we bought it after it had been essentially gutted and remodeled; it was not "kids" house and even i felt "too young" to own it; i was 26 when i bought it). anyhow...

I believe the current owner of 2112 will make himself known when he is ready...but to echo the words of my brother, upeksha, the owner has bills to pay and decisions to make...this is his choice. The owner is one of the brightest and most thoughtful people I know- I'm sure he is spending a lot of time thinking about what's right for 2112, what's right for the neighborhood, what's right for the victims and their family and friends, and what's right for him. Please give him the space he needs to reflect.

Most of the Capitol Hill landowners would agree anti-hippy dude, at least in private. The sight of the kegs on the porch, an overgrown yard, late night parties, that's the Seattle we're trying to move away from.

If Broadway is done right these hippie kids will not feel welcome there anymore and Capitol Hill will be cleaner, safer, and landowners will see some appreciation there.

A friend of mine works for Shurgard storage on the Hill. He recently rented a unit to the kids who lived in the blue house.

As for whether the house will be lived in again, I'm sure of it. Consider this: the Manson family murdered Sharon Tate and others at 10050 Cielo Drive, but the house was sold all the same. In fact, Trent Reznor (apparently unaware that the house was once Tate's) recorded Downward Spiral there. Anyway... the unfortunate deaths of these kids will not likely affect the real estate world much.

A friend of mine works for Shurgard storage on the Hill. He recently rented a unit to the kids who lived in the blue house.

As for whether the house will be lived in again, I'm sure of it. Consider this: the Manson family murdered Sharon Tate and others at 10050 Cielo Drive, but the house was sold all the same. In fact, Trent Reznor (apparently unaware that the house was once Tate's) recorded Downward Spiral there. Anyway... the unfortunate deaths of these kids will not likely affect the real estate world much.

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