Hing Hay Park, a "Park for Pleasurable Gatherings", is at the center of the International District.
Amid the massive growth of the industrial revolution, Seattle found itself in need of laborers. To fill this void, Chinese workers were recruited to Seattle to help lay the area’s first railroads, dig its coal mines and can its salmon harvests. Chinese immigrants flocked to the Pacific Northwest in the 1880s and originally banded together, creating the city’s first Chinatown, on the eastern edge of Pioneer Square.
However, as the Chinese population and workforce grew, the economic recession of the mid-1800s began to take hold of more and more people along the West Coast. Soon, a tide of resentment and anti-Chinese sentiment overcame the nation. Anti-Chinese immigration laws were passed, and a mob of angry whites rioted and forced more than 300 Chinese residents from Seattle in February 1886. However, the Chinese population slowly rebounded and began rebuilding their homes. In 1910, after most of the original Chinatown was leveled to build the 2nd Avenue Extension, the community reestablished Chinatown where it stands today. They founded benevolent associations and opened restaurants and laundries in the area just south of Jackson Street.
Today, those associations remain and many of their historic buildings have been renovated to house new businesses and organizations. Beloved restaurants continue to dish up old-time favorites, small markets stock fresh produce and specialty stores offer anything from tropical fish to medicinal herbs. Hing Hay Park, the International Children’s Park and the International District/Chinatown Community Center invite everyone to play.