The Panama Hotel

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently named the Panama Hotel in Seattle’s International District, a National Treasure. The National Trust recognizes the national historic and cultural significance of the Panama Hotel and the important stories it can help tell. The building is also a designated National Historic Landmark. Through the National Treasures program, a growing portfolio of more than 55 threatened buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes that stand at risk across the country, the National Trust will take direct action to protect the Panama Hotel and promote its rich history and significance. jan johnson_natl treasures announcement small

Along with Historic Seattle and current owner Jan Johnson, the National Trust is committing to long-term preservation and interpretation of the building and its collections. As owner of the hotel for the past 30 years, Ms. Johnson is preparing for the property’s next phase and with this National Treasure designation, the National Trust will collaborate with her and Historic Seattle to find a new steward and owner, while honoring the legacies of Johnson and previous owner Takashi Hori.

The National Treasure announcement was made at a special event on April 9 attended by over 160 people held at the Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) building in Seattle. Speakers included NVC President Bruce Inaba, National Trust President Stephanie Meeks, Congressman Jim McDermott, Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim who declared April 9 as “Panama Hotel Day” through a Mayoral Proclamation, Eugenia Woo of Historic Seattle, and Jan Johnson. A screening of The Panama Hotel Legacy short film was featured, highlighting the remarkable legacy of the 105 year-old property, particularly the continuous stewardship to preserve its history and educate current and future generations. A full length documentary film is in the works. The evening wrapped up with a powerful performance by Seattle Kokon Taiko, a performing group based in the local Japanese American community.

Learn more about the Panama Hotel as a National Treasure.

View recent media coverage of the Panama Hotel and National Treasure announcement:

National Trust for Historic Preservation Blog
KPLU: Preservation Group Names Seattle’s Panama Hotel a National Treasure
KING 5: Seattle’s Panama Hotel Named a National Treasure
KIRO TV: Seattle’s Panama Hotel Designated as a National Treasure
Northwest Asian Weekly: Much Love for the Panama Hotel–Seattle has its National Treasure
Puget Sound Business Journal: Seattle International District’s Panama Hotel Deemed a ‘National Treasure’ Seattle’s Panama Hotel is a National Treasure that Needs a New Owner

Photos: Panama Hotel sign; owner Jan Johnson at the National Treasures announcement event; Source: Eugenia Woo