SEATTLE — At the corner of 7th and King in Seattle's International District, behold Chinatown's original social media.
The Wing Luke Museum's Doan Nguyen said, "It's kind of like one piece in a puzzle that connects to the rest of the neighborhood."
Nguyen says this outdoor bulletin board on the side of the historic Louisa Hotel first started making vital connections more than 50 years ago.
"It was really important to the neighborhood because this was the way that information was getting out to the local community before they had a community newspaper to get information out to folks," she said.
The Chinese language 'Seattle Chinese Post' wouldn't come along until 1982. So this simple wall of cork was built to serve as the neighborhood's communications command center.
"And to make it seem more like a Chinese village," said longtime neighborhood resident Betty Lau.
It provided a vital service to many local residents.
"Non-English speakers not being able to communicate as easily in English," Lau said.
Lau remembers when the bulletin board was the only place where Chinese immigrants could read about local events in their native language.
"Banquet notices," she said, "An annual governor's dinner, Lunar New Year. So those notices would go up here."
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The bulletin board became a treasured centerpiece. Local businesses even got together to build an ornate roof.
"To try to protect the items from getting wet," Lau said.
The bulletin board is now considered a historic site. And though most public communication has moved online, this original message board still remains, a reminder of a simpler time.
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