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The Bell family were among the first European American settlers in Seattle, and they held 320 acres overlooking Elliott Bay in the area now called Belltown. They built two wood frame houses in this area. The last one they occupied in the late 1800s was in the space that is now a parking lot on the west side of 1st Ave not far from this building. Austin Bell thought he was beginning to experience symptoms of the same debilitating dementia that had afflicted his father, William, and took his own life to avoid a similar decline into the ill health he had seen his father experience. Just the day before his suicide by gunshot he had discussed with his nephew how excited he was about plans he had in place to build this structure. His wife had it built and named the structure in his memory. This facade is now among Seattle's historical landmarks.