By Julie Muhlstein
When Everett architect Andy Hall clicked on HeraldNet’s new Time Travels blog Tuesday, an image jumped out at him. It wasn’t a 1916 snow picture that grabbed Hall’s attention. It was the blog’s logo – a photo from Herald archives and the Everett Public Library of an old building.
“That’s my building,” Hall said Wednesday.
Hall is owner of Botesch, Nash &Hall Architects, P.S. His firm at 2727 Oakes Ave., Suite 100, in downtown Everett occupies the first floor and part of the basement of what was once the Challacombe, Fickel &Precht funeral home.
Hall and his wife, Kaye, bought the building from the Precht family in 2007 after Ruth Precht died in 2006. Ruth Precht and her husband Walter had operated the Challacombe-Fickel and Precht Funeral Service for more than 50 years.
Built as a funeral home in 1923, the building was designed by Benjamin Turnbull, a prominent architect in Everett. Its original owners were Nicholas Challacombe and Charles Fickel.
The Halls paid $950,000 for the building, and have spent at least $700,000 on renovations. In 2009, the Everett City Council voted to include it on the Everett Register of Historic Places.
The architecture firm’s website says the building’s four floors once housed a chapel, viewing rooms, an embalming room, and an upstairs residence for the funeral home director’s family. In a Herald “Life Story” about Ruth Precht in 2006, her daughter Charisse Precht described living upstairs from the business. She recalled trying to keep quiet as a child when funeral services were held downstairs.
Repurposed, and with new plumbing and wiring, the building now has several tenants, Hall said. They include a toy maker in the basement; an attorney’s office, and an insurance company.
Hall is the sole owner of Botesch, Nash &Hall Architects, which was founded in 1954 and used to be on Everett’s Hewitt Avenue east of Broadway. Harry Botesch died in the 1990s, Hall said, and Leonard Nash is retired.
Hall remembers attending a funeral at what’s now his business. He said the second floor once had a dining room, kitchen, living room and den, and there were bedrooms on the third floor. “It was amazing. I’ve talked to people who went to sleepovers there,” Hall said.
He said he was also told that years ago, in the basement where caskets were stored and embalming was done, there was a room where exchange students stayed. “It was kind of creepy down there,” he said.