The Rosebud Motel’s all boarded up, and covered with moss and graffiti. It’s been abandoned for years, with the dead still alive in the rooms. And now the office is on fire, along with the second story above it.
Welcome to Queen Anne’s famous mini Rosebud Motel, dressed up zombie apocalypse-style for Halloween.
Richard Knowles III first built this homage to “Schitt’s Creek” on the retaining wall of his home during the 2020 holiday season. His creation was the surprise hit of that quarantine winter, with 1,000 visitors a day at its peak, according to Knowles.
He gussied it up for Christmas again last winter, with twinkling lights, a new second story and a light dusting of (styrofoam) snow. This year, he defaced it for Halloween. He “dirtied” the walls with a wash of brown paint, cut a hole in the roof, boarded up the windows and doors, scraped up the paint.
This is the mini Rosebud Motel’s last hurrah. There’s no coming back after this. To pay your last respects, drive down 10th Avenue West near West Bothwell Street in Queen Anne.
“I’m done with it,” Knowles said. “I’m going out with a bang.”
Knowles spared no effort in destroying his Rosebud Motel. You can see his careful attention to detail everywhere.
He started working on the Halloween edition in the middle of summer, picking up moss on a camping trip. A pile of zombie bodies (chicken wire wrapped in trash bags) are laid out in front of the motel. He made the “CONDEMNED” sign by placing stickers on a board, painting over it, then peeling off the stickers.
Knowles found a graffiti font online, penciled on the letters and tagged the motel with fluorescent paint so it would glow: “STB (Simply the best),” “Eat glass” and “Ew David.”
His favorite feature is the fire in the office, which he worked on for two months to get just right. To simulate fire, he used fans blowing on satin sheets, and orange and yellow LED lights. The idea came from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, and he watched tutorial after tutorial online to nail the effect. Upstairs, two fog machines billow smoke out a hole in the roof.
A neighbor walking by recently called out, “Fabulous again!” A black Mercedes slowed to a crawl in front of the house. That’s just a tiny sample of the Rosebud Motel’s notoriety. Is Knowles sad or relieved that it’s coming to an end?
“I’m relieved,” he said. “This is a lot. It’s the end of it, I think. Unless … ?”
Knowles’ problem is finding a place to store the components. Last year, the second story of the motel just sat in his front yard all year. As of early October, his plan is to leave the Rosebud Motel up through Thanksgiving, then retire it.
“It had an amazing run,” Knowles said. “A really, really good run.”