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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

February 18, 2010 at 2:42 PM

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Rooms with a view of history at the Wing Luke Asian Museum

Posted by Gabriel Campanario


Nov. 17, 11:17 a.m. [Click on sketch to view larger]

Imagine life around this Chinatown intersection in 1910. Asian immigrants who came to work in the canneries, farms and neighborhood businesses rented rooms in a hotel that occupied the top floors of the East Kong Yick building, the current home of the Wing Luke Asian Museum.

This week I toured the restored 100-year-old building and stepped into the austere living spaces and common areas where the laborers socialized. The dark rooms still feel inhabited by the souls of the early settlers. A Chinese newspaper lays on a bed and shoes are tucked under it.

The visit made me ponder my own immigration experience. I didn't have fellow Spaniards to socialize with in California, but I had the privilege of settling into a company-paid condo for a month. And it was sunny all the time.

All third Saturdays of the month general admission to the museum is free and guided tours are discounted. Information at

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