Dr. Marie Wong shares her research and extraordinary understanding of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residential hotels and the development of Seattle’s Pan-Asian community during this lecture and walking tour in the Chinatown-International District. SRO residential hotels define the streets of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. These mixed-use buildings were primarily constructed between 1880 and 1920, and featured a first floor devoted to retail uses, such as grocers, restaurants, sundry shops, and drug stores. Mezzanine levels included professional offices for doctors, herbalists, photography studios, or Chinese family association meeting rooms, while upper floors housed small and inexpensive residential hotel uses.
These hotels accommodated the needs of transient laborers and provided long-term housing for low-income individuals. Many of the residents represented an aging population that was part of that early active labor force of railroad, cannery, and agricultural workers wanting to remain in a neighborhood that had become their home. Both the buildings and neighborhood embodied a diverse population of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Americans, African Americans, Italians, Scandinavians, and Germans.
Dr. Marie Wong has written a soon-to-be-released book on the subject. She is an associate professor at Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service and board member on the city’s International Special Review District. Dr. Wong is president of the Kong Yick Investment Company and an advisor to the community art installation committee of the Gordon Hirabayashi Legacy of Justice Family Housing Project.
Following her presentation, she will lead the group to see some of these important but often overlooked buildings, and observe current rehabilitation efforts and challenges.
Tour date: Saturday, October 14.
Tours are SOLD OUT.
Preservation Pass holders who wish to attend but have not yet RSVPd are urged to do so immediately.