Monday, March 10, 2008

Seattle History

Yesterday we spent a couple hours in the International District. While sipping on our coffees in the very cool Panama Tea House we had the opportunity to listen to a walking tour that came in. The Tour Guide talked about the walk in fridge in the Tea house that is still working…showed a “trap door” that use to lead to a sushi restaurant and so many other interesting facts about the building. She saw Mike and me sitting by the door and invited us to join the group. What a wonderful opportunity!! The next stop was the Japanese Bath House. This is from the Panama Hotel’s website:

"Sento at sixth and Main"

The Only remaining Japanese Public bathhouse intact in the U.S.

At the base of the Panama Hotel is the entrance to what was once the center of daily life in Nihonmachi, Japantown, one of the most thriving communities of its kind in the country. Of hundreds of such communal bathhouses in Japantowns across the country, this is the only one preserved in tact, in place. The bathhouse served generations of Nisei (Japanese Americans) in the years before World War II. After work, after school, after dinner, after ball games immigrants came to soak at the Sento because life was hard, hot water was relaxing, bathing facilities were scarce and it was a traditional cultural activity.

The two pitted marble baths are still in the basement, along with rusty shower heads (that nobody used, even then), neatly numbered wooden lockers and hand painted signs advertising local businesses perfectly preserved.

Our Tour Guide was

Jan Johnson
, owner of the Panama Hotel, who has definitely led an exciting life….and obviously continues to do so. I was mesmerized by her knowledge of the history of the building, the community and the people that were a part of it all. History is so important to preserve and to share….we’re so lucky to have people like Jan Johnson.

**The pictures were taken via my phone**


Lauren said...

Sounds like so much fun!

Me, My Stamps and I said...

what a great history,thanks for taking the pics, it was an awesome tour just looking at those.

Lisa Carroll said...

That is absolutely facinating! WOW... and the pics are great, too! I LOVE that one of the painting over the table.