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Golden Pheasant Noodle Company was started in the 19

1920’s by Eugene Wong (paper name Gee) and his cousins, who moved to Seattle from California. 


Eugene’s younger brother, Charles, joined the business around the time of the Great Depression; and after returning from Europe following service in the U.S. Army during WW II, he eventually became the sole owner.


The noodle factory was located on 5th Avenue between Washington and Main Streets. It remained there until the mid-1990’s, when it was moved to a new location on Weller Street near 12th Avenue. A few years after the move, the business was sold. 


In the period following WW II, the area around Main Street and 5th Avenue was more Japantown than Chinatown. Main Street was only two blocks away from King Street, the heart of Chinatown. But Jackson Street seemed to act as an unofficial (and somewhat porous) boundary between the two ethnic enclaves. 

Consequently, the noodle factory found itself “on the wrong side of the tracks,” next to a very lively Japanese community. There were Japanese owned and operated restaurants, cafes, barbershops, fish markets, a pharmacy (run by Mr. Chiba), confectioner (Sagamiya), laundry, and grocery stores, including a small mom & pop-run grocery store named Uwajimaya where we sometimes shopped. 


The North American Post, the local Japanese newspaper publisher, was located across the street from the noodle factory. 


Each day after school, a gaggle of young Japanese boys would gather with their bikes in front of the publisher waiting for the paper to be distributed so they could start their assigned paper routes. 


Besides the local businesses, the area was home to Japanese families as well. Many were families that lived in hotels that they operated; and some were families that lived in the backrooms of their businesses.

The House of Hong restaurant on Eighth Avenue 

and Jackson Street has come and gone.  During these pandemic times we see it fenced off and tagged with graffiti.  I remember the days when the Louie Hong family owned it.  It seems like only yesterday we were trying to park in that little patch of attended parking space across the street.  The building was large enough to host community banquets and wedding receptions.  Over a hundred people could locate parking on the street and converge.  It is missed.  The restaurant was started in 1983 by the Louie Hong family who ran it for several years before selling the business in 1992.  


Prior to the House of Hong, the family operated the Atlas Café at 424 Maynard Avenue South.  Louie Hong opened the small café in 1956, then expanded and remodeled it into the barber shop next door in 1976, doubling capacity.  By then, the whole family is involved, his son Faye leaving his engineering job at The Boeing Company, and they continued until 1982, when, due to their success, they decided to purchase the old Office Emporium building (previously a Safeway grocery store) and the House of Hong was born.  


During its 25 years, the Atlas had received good press reviews.  From “Hard to find” – tightly held secret of the UW Far East Dept for best and reasonably priced, to “Contender for Best in Chinatown”.  Hollywood movie crews were said to have dined there.  Highly esteemed community members, who didn’t mind hopping onto the counter barstools, have patronized the business.  This success carried forward to the House of Hong.     

Patriarch Louie Hong immigrated to the United States in 1923, at the age of 8.  He grew up and began working at Tsue Chong at age 14 and later added driving taxis to make his living.  In 1940, he went to China to get married, but had to leave his wife to return to the U.S. when World War II started.  His son Mon Faye was born in 1941.  He would not reunite with his wife until 1950.  Faye would arrive separately in 1952.


Few people know that Louie Hong answered the call for all young Chinese men to come to the aid of their country.  In 1931, after Japan invaded China, the Chinese government sent out a call for volunteers to join China’s air force to fight the Japanese.  Louie Hong and his cousin Clifford Louie volunteered and completed flight training in Portland Oregon.  They set off for Northern China and got into the fight.  The Chinese air force was no match for the superior Japanese force.  It’s unknown how many missions he flew, but on Louie Hong’s last mission, he was wounded, and made it back to base.  After recovering, he decided not to continue and leave the air force.  The Chinese government couldn’t stop him, as he was a volunteer.  He hitchhiked to southern China, where he eventually got married about 1935 or 1936, according to his cousin Ed Louie, who was there. 


Uncle Ed Louie recorded family history and sent this story to niece Susan, Louie Hong’s daughter, after her dad’s passing in 1990.  Susan says her mom told her the story once, but her dad never did.  She says her father waited until the House of Hong days to mention his wartime experience to one of their kitchen employees, who then relayed it to her. 

 The story was corroborated by Uncle Ed’s writings.  Later, Susan came across the leather aviator headgear her father had saved.  Answering the call to duty showed his bravery and willingness to sacrifice.  Louie Hong was able to return safely home to his family.

Purolator Courier Corporation

I had a job at Purolator Courier Corporation on 10th and Weller Street, across the street from the Chinese Baptist Church.  I’d tell people that I drive for Purolator, they’d give me a quizzical look, and I’d have to say, “It’s like UPS”. 

“Oh…”, they’d say.


Why do I mention Purolator?  They had nothing to do with our community, except they ARE on this side of Dearborn, and they ARE on this side of 12th Avenue.  I was reminded that one of the Caucasian drivers lived in Chinatown, but I didn’t know him.  The owner, Frank Buty, apparently owned the Buty Building on Jackson Street, built by his father, so there’s some history here.


Before it became Purolator, it was Independent Delivery.  They drove around in small dull red Ford Cortinas, which Norm Locke says were sometimes unreliable.  When it became Purolator, they began driving bright white-colored Ford Pintos, Econoline vans and a couple huge long haul rigs, with a red and blue logo. 


I knew Norm had a weekend job with them, while attending the UW.  He says his father Joe Locke knew Frank Buty.  When I needed a job, I asked Norm about the company.  He told me to see Howard, the driver supervisor.   I went in without an appointment, spoke to Howard, referenced Norm, and got hired.  Fortunately for me, they had an opening.  Out of approximately 50 drivers, about a half dozen Asian guys had driving jobs there in the late 1970s.  A few of us credit Norm for referring us.  Others got hired on their own.  


Most of us guys knew we weren’t going to make a career of driving delivery trucks.  It was a “stopgap” job for those of us still trying to find our way in life.  It was a workingman’s job; good, honest labor, and it paid well – good, by the standards of those days.  At the time, I was still living at home and was able to save $10,000 by my second year there.  I used it to put a down payment on my first house and later applied the remainder towards my second used car.  (I also got a head start on my friends who went to law school and dental school.)


Thinking back, so much of my early life was around that one block of 10th Avenue on the edge of Chinatown; two years in nursery school, five years in Boy Scouts and two years at Purolator.  All this was only a mile from where I lived in my grandfather’s house on Beacon Hill.

The 3rd Sunday in July was always the pinnacle

of summer in our house. Parking off Jackson (in an alley now flocked with condos), 4 kids in tow, my family would drag blankets, thermoses of water and snacks, adept at knowing which corners got the most shade and provided the best viewing. We were going to the Chinatown Parade and it was our favorite time of year. Princess waves, sword sparks on concrete, fancy cars full of “important people”, the familiar sounds of All City Band, horses and clowns always made for a good time. 


But the real reason the entire south end flocked to King and Jackson were the drill teams. The sisterhood was palpable and the rivalry fierce. It was the shiny white boots and choreography of drill teams.


Like Sweet Mahogany or the Electronettes, the synchronized tap or the FYA poles and the show stopping Chinese Girls Drill Team and Dragon - drumbeats echoing and reverberating under the freeway overpass signaling to those anxiously waiting that greatness was coming. The girl’s chins were held high, backs straight and the pride was contagious.    


These moments are core memories for me and many others, the CID serving as that collective place at the center of the city and the backdrop for the Monday morning who-saw-who in and at the parade the night before. Seattle Summer really isn’t summer without the Chinatown Parade.

In 1963, my brother and I joined the Chinese Boy Scout 

Troop 254, sponsored by the old Chinese Baptist Church on 10th Avenue and King Street.  We were previously Cub Scouts with a pack on Beacon Hill.    When my younger brother turned eleven, we were eligible to transfer to Boy Scouts.  Our older cousin Larry Woo was already in the troop.  

Troop meetings were held Tuesday evenings in the church basement.   


A half dozen of us would leave Chinese School and walked up King Street to the church.  In cold weather, we’d shiver because our uniforms included short pants and knee length socks with red garters.  Decades later, we learned we were wearing the summer uniform year-round, and should have gotten the long pants to wear.  We either didn’t know, or we thought short pants were cool, or perhaps, we were afraid to ask our parents to spend more money on the uniform, after they had forked over the money for all the camping equipment.


We enjoyed the full scouting experience, learning life skills that have been useful throughout our lives: cooking, budgeting, swimming, knot tying, camping, chopping wood and using a knife so you don’t slice your fingers (anymore).   We may have served the community in some ways, but the only one I recall is standing honor guard for President Kennedy on the upper floor of the Chong Wa Benevolent Association building in November 1963 after he had been assassinated.  A classmate told me he saw my image on TV news.  It was such a somber event that I had not noticed the cameras.


We represented our community in events such as Scout Shows and First Aid competitions.  Our Scoutmaster, Jimmy Ko, saw that our troop participated in everything available.  We went on monthly camping trips and an annual summer camp.  As a troop, we won more than our fair share of awards in the inter-troop competitions, along with the Japanese Boy Scout Troop 252.


The late martial artist, Bruce Lee, lived in Seattle at the time and approached our troop to propose teaching any scouts his martial art.  About ten of our scouts signed up, and my cousin Larry was in that group, said to be the first class ever taught by Bruce Lee after he decided to share his art.


The parents of the scouts had organized a carpool system to take the scouts home after the meetings, drive them to local events, and transport them plus all their camping equipment to the monthly weekend camping trips.  They were never thanked enough for their selfless sacrifice of time and energy, and now they have all passed.  Troop 254 celebrated their Centennial Anniversary in 2023.  It had been supported and guided by Tim Louie of the Tsue Chong Company, and I understand he has recently passed the torch to another scoutmaster.

I attended a few of the Christmas parties at the 

American Legion Cathay Post 186 facilities at 414 Maynard Avenue.  We kids sat on the floor and children’s entertainers were brought in, as I recall.  I can only picture Dan Mar running around supervising the event.  A decade ago I was interviewed for a project his daughter Sue Mar was doing, and she confirmed that she participated in packaging the Christmas stockings we were gifted at the parties. 


 I remember some of the contents: a ball, the braided straw tube finger pulling thing, the paddle ball toy, perhaps a candy cane and the rubber knife with sheath.  I remember one year the Santa Claus was wearing some kind of molded plaster body suit for added girth, and at the end of the party, he lifted his beard and asked, “Have all the kids left?”  He spotted me, looking at him, then quickly put the beard back in place.  


Surprisingly, that incident didn’t ruin it for me, because I knew the real Santa Claus was at Frederick & Nelsons.

There was a time when it seemed only Asians walked

 around Chinatown.  When I went there with my dad, it seemed he knew everyone.  He didn’t say anything.  He would acknowledge them with a backward tilt of his head in their direction.  They would do the same, or just say, “Hi Jerry”.  It began to change in the 1970s or 80s.  New people “spent the day, and stayed for a lifetime”, perhaps due to new housing units becoming available, the Kingdome, the development of Pioneer Square and Belltown, whatever.  Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy sharing our culture and earning their money, but my dad was an unfortunate victim as a result of this “change”. 


It was the early 90s, in the evening, after hours.  He and Alan Louie, owner of the China Gate restaurant, were returning to the restaurant so Mr. Louie could retrieve his raincoat.  My dad remained outside on the sidewalk.  Before Mr. Louie came out, two Caucasian guys, one tall, one short, approached my dad to engage in conversation.  Suddenly, one of them gave him a roundhouse punch to the side of his face, and then said, “That guy did it!” pointing to a phantom runner down the street. 


My dad said, “I know it was you, so watch it”, trying to sound tough.  Amazingly, he didn’t get knocked off his feet.  With two against one, he knew one was going to give him a bear hug from behind, while the other was going to rifle through his pockets.  Just then, Mr. Louie comes out, hearing the commotion.  The two guys run off.


The next day, I learned that he did not report the incident to the police.  I also learned that a restaurant around the corner was robbed the same night.  It was after closing, the employees had cleaned up and were sent home by the manager.  He’s finishing up when he hears noise in the back of the restaurant.  Two guys fitting the Mutt and Jeff description of my dad’s assailants were rolling the safe out the back door; the door must have been unlocked.  The manager pulls out a gun and tells them to get out.  They take off.  He didn’t call the police.  He locks up, moves the safe back, and prepares to leave.  As he exits the place, he is jumped by these two guys, is robbed and his gun is taken away.


I blame my dad for not calling the police to report his assault.  If he had done so, perhaps the police presence would have chased those two guys out of the area, and the second incident may have been avoided.  Now, another stolen gun is out there adding to the danger in our society.  By the way, my dad’s cheek bone was fractured and he had to have surgery to repair it.   - RC

My parents made my brother and me go to 

Chinese School.  Chinese language school.  It was held in the Chong Wa Benevolent Association building.  We had to attend because our cousins attended.  We did everything they did.  I didn’t enjoy the experience; the instructors were teaching a dialect unlike the one heard at home, which turned out to be what I termed “pidgin Chinese”.  However, I liked being with the other students.  There were about 70 of us, all ages up to high school.  About 30 of us rode the school bus five days a week.  It would pick us up at 4:50pm and deliver us to school by 5:00pm.  School ended at 7:00pm.  Since we were one of the last to be picked up, we were one of the last to be taken home.  We rode all over Seattle and got to see where the others lived.  We didn’t get home til 8.  At 10 years of age, I was supposed to be in bed by 8pm.  The bus ride was bumpy, and the driver was at times, tyrannical.  Turns out, he was the same guy who picked us up for nursery school.


Overall, it was a good socializing experience outside of our normal public schooling.  There were students who came from prominent families.  There were smart kids there, especially the ones from China who could already read Chinese and help us American-born with our studies.  I see some of the same people today, 60 years later.


I especially enjoyed recess, where we got plenty of exercise and learned to play soak’em (dodgeball) and football, in the dirt playfield.  We also got to meet Mr. Saito, the man who hit baseballs to the neighborhood boys in that field and would give them “participation” money afterwards.  I thought his name was Szeto, from what I could hear the other boys saying, but his full name is Rinzo Saito. 


Based on writings by Dean Wong and the late Donnie Chin, Miya Sukune went on a search for information on the man.  I connected her with Tony Chinn (an older boy in the neighborhood who played ball but did not attend school), and together, we provided her additional information for her graphic (comic) book, “Searching for Saito’, published in 2023.  She did all the artwork and pieced together a story of the life of a Japanese bachelor who shared his love for baseball with the neighborhood kids, and whose lives will be forever entwined with his.


We attended school for five years and only escaped when my father opened his restaurant and needed us to work for him.

I remember the smelly aroma coming from 

“China Poultry” on King Street.  One didn’t have to go inside.  The front door was open and you could see the stacked cages, with live chickens that went up about six feet.  I couldn’t gauge the height accurately as I was only about six years of age.  The floor was wet, and white feathers seem to be scattered all over.  You could hear the chickens clucking.  This is where the chicken we ate came from, with heads and feet.  Welcome to a glimpse of the real world, kid.

For our family, Tek Wong's Gim Ling restaurant

(later, became Alan Louie's China Gate) was the go-to place for dim sum.  In the 1950’s and 60’s, after our annual visit to Lakeview Cemetery to lay flowers at my great-grandfather’s grave, we’d return home for a dim sum lunch.  I would see my grandfather slip money to my uncle who’d drive to Gim Ling and bring home enough to feed eight of us.  I thought it was a ten dollar bill, and it may have been a twenty, but the pink cake box (perhaps two) tied with kite string would have ha-gow, shu mai, and hom bows. Sometimes, a tall yellow, low sugar cake was in there.  My grandmother provided the other greasy goodies.  I didn’t pay that much attention to the cost, because I wasn’t paying the bill back then.

Like so many I grew up on Beacon Hill.

Went to Kimball Elementary, Asa Mercer Jr High, Franklin HS and UW.  Pretty typical for many of us who grew up in the 60-70's.    Living on Beacon Hill I didn't really hang out in Chinatown but I have a few vivid memories and experiences that stay with me forever.


1968 ish.  My failed time at Chinese School at Chong Wa.  For months, I would watch my two older sisters get picked up by the yellow bus in front of our Beacon Hill house one hour after regular school!  Mom would tell me how smart they were going to Chinese school everyday to learn our native language. 


Initially I was a little jealous that they got the leave the house while I was stuck at home by myself most of the time.  Many months later I was excited to jump on the bus along with my sisters.  At school, I discovered a single room of maybe 30, 40 kids of ages from 8-15 year old were seated at their student desks grouped somewhat by ages.  I liked our teacher because I thought she was pretty.  

The principal we called him "How Jung" was thin and reminded me of Jughead from the Archies comics (which I was an avid fan of).  Every time I heard him speak I was cracking up inside myself as I imagined Jughead speaking Chinese.


During recess one day I roamed the halls of Chong Wa and started peering into the rooms of every door that I could open.  Nothing special until I got to the room where the huge Dragons and lion heads were stored.  At first glance it shook me a bit as I had never been so close to the big dragon head.  I stepped into the room and stared at it all.  That's when How Jung found me and dragged me out of the room.  He didn't yell at me but was fairly stern announcing I was not allowed to roam around like I was.


Back in class I struggled.  I mostly found myself highly disinterested and bored.  As much as I convinced my mom that I wanted to go to Chinese School (for the wrong reasons), I didn't have to argue my case very hard that I didn't want to go anymore.  I lasted a few days short of one month.

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