AAPI Heritage Month: Chinatown Community Bulletin Board

In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and projects connected to the history of Seattle’s AAPI community.

It is easy to miss the unassuming message board secured to the outer east wall of the historic Louisa Hotel in the Chinatown International District (CID). Sitting beneath a red and green flared eave at the corner of Seventh and King St, the Chinatown Community Bulletin Board provides a window into the neighborhood’s history, culture, and community.  

The Chinese Community Bulletin Board in the
Chinatown International District

Throughout the late 1800s, many Chinese immigrants came to Seattle seeking work in the railroad industry, fisheries, and mills. Posting boards were set up as a public forum for the Chinese community to share messages with each other. The earliest message board in Seattle dates to 1890 and started a long-standing system of disseminating news and information in Chinese, as much of the community did not speak or read English. The present standing board was installed in the 1960s and served as the primary communications hub for the local Chinese community until 1982 when The Seattle Chinese Post was established.  

“It’s kind of like one piece of the puzzle that connects the rest of the neighborhood,” said Wing Luke Museum tour manager Doan Nguyenin a recent King 5 story. “This was the way information was getting out to the local community before they had a community newspaper.” 

Although most public communications today have moved online, the Chinatown Community Bulletin Board is a tactile thread in the diverse fabric of our city’s history. The message board is a designated Seattle Historic Landmark and can be found at 511 Seventh Ave. S.