This building was constructed as a “store & flats” in 1927 for Chin Fook Hing, the manager, and most likely the proprietor, of the Chong Hing Co. The architect was Thompson & Thompson (1899-1929). It is a good example of a small scale mixed-use retail/apartment building associated with the early Chinese business community which exhibits traditional Chinese architectural forms and materials.
Beginning in the 1870’s, Chinese immigrants came to Seattle to work in the rail, mining, lumber and other early industries. The community eventually established its own distinctive neighborhood, or “Chinatown,” which grew to include a large number of mixed retail/hotel buildings that housed the many single workingmen. In addition to the working class Chinese, some successful Chinese businessmen prospered as labor contractors, built the hotels and rooming houses to house the laborers and established trade businesses in Seattle. Some of the historic buildings in the district are associated with Chinese import/export businesses that contributed to the economic success of the community. Some of these buildings exhibit distinctive Chinese architectural characteristics that contribute to the historic character of the district and the surrounding neighborhood.
The Chong Hing & Co. appears to have begun conducting business in Seattle around 1914 as an importer of Chinese goods and manufacturer of sweaters. Until the construction of this building, Hing’s business was located at 676 King St. Hing was no longer in business by 1948, but the first known change in building ownership occurred in 1958, when it was purchased by George Tamura. During the 1980s and early 1990s the shop continued as a Chinese grocery/herb store. The current occupant, the Canton Noodle House, has been in this location since at least 2002.
C. Bennett Thompson and his father Charles L. Thompson (1842-?) began their architectural practice in Seattle in 1899. The elder Thompson had practiced architecture in New Jersey, Kansas and Salt Lake City before coming to Seattle. Thompson & Thompson were the most prolific designers of buildings in the International District. Examples include the Moses Building, T & C Building, Tokiwa Hotel, Low Building/Havana Hotel, Astor Hotel/Nippon Kan Theater and Goon Dip Block. They also designed numerous business blocks in the central business district and houses for prominent Seattle businessmen, including the J.W. Clise residence. After 1927, C. Bennett Thompson continued in practice on his own until 1936.