Chinese Village on the Pay Streak

The Chinese Village was located along the perimeter of the Pay Streak, between the Ferris wheel and the Arena. And what a location! The Pay Streak was the liveliest element of the fair. It had action, color, and an assortment of music–the unique and bizarre were to be found there. According to the Seattle Times: “The Village consisted of three buildings, which included a bazaar, a Chinese temple (said to have been brought intact from Shanghai), Ah King’s restaurant, and a tea room; the Chinese exhibits and curios were exhibited on the village grounds behind the main building.” It cost about $15,000 to construct the buildings. The cost to bring the theatrical troupe and approximately twenty workers the Exposition and their return trip to China, plus their compensation, was $5,000. Other costs pushed the grand total to build and operate the village past $25,000. Every piece of furniture, every drapery and curtain was imported from China.

The restaurant employed the top chefs from China. The Temple of Confucius was brought over from China. It was insured with a $10,000 bond and was to be returned after the Fair. Tourists were guided through temple but it was used as a place of worship by the visiting Chinese. In another building, Chinese carvings, rich draperies, laces and silks were on display. One piece of silk was embroidered with the portraits of President Taft and Vice President Sherman. On the background were woven flowers a spray of fern and Chinese writings. The work was done by several Chinese school children under the age of 12 and required several months to complete. The piece was given to Taft during his visit to the A-Y-P in October.

Sources: HistoryLink.org Essay 8964; Seattle Times, Nov. 15, 1908 p20; Seattle Star, June 9, 1909; Seattle Times, Oct. 1, 1909, p8.

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