Northwest Room Update: Japan Bazaar

A chance find while doing research in the Enid Nordlund collection of early Everett photographs turned up a picture of the Japan Bazaar at its first location at 1205 Hewitt. A Reading Life previously published an in-depth look at this business and the Kan family who ran it; you can explore that history here.

At first glance this image might not tell you much beyond the caption written at the top, and the extra information on the back. On the back someone had speculated that the picture was taken from the roof of a building at Pacific and Nassau around 1904 or 1905. Historian Jack O’Donnell pointed out that the large building on the right side of the foreground was still standing, and was actually one block north on Wall.

Image from the Enid Nordlund collection, Everett Public Library

Zooming in on a high resolution scan of an image can provide a lot of clues if you know what to look for. Many of these buildings had signs for businesses, which could be looked up in our Polk City Directories to help pin down an approximate year for the image. The bold lettering on the brick building to the left and midway back caught my eye. While it was a little bit blurry, it looked like “Japan Bazaar.” Ok… maybe more than a bit blurry, but bear with me.

Close up of the Japan Bazaar and Windsor Hotel – 1200 block of Hewitt.

From the directories and other sources I could confirm that the Japan Bazaar was located at 1205 Hewitt from 1901-1904. Across the street you can see the sign for the Windsor Hotel, which was at 1202 Hewitt, which helps confirm that I had the right block and that I wasn’t misreading the other blurry sign. The Japan Bazaar temporarily moved to 1924 Hewitt in 1905-06, before settling in at 1410 Hewitt in 1907, where it remained until it closed sometime between 1910 and 1911. It was around that time, as noted in the previous article, that the Kan family appear to have moved back to Seattle.

Sometimes it’s the little finds like this that make exploring our historic photos so much more enjoyable! It was nice to add another image of this business to our collection to join the lovely photo we have of the Kan family inside their 1410 Hewitt location.

https://nw.epls.org/digital/collection/EvrtMassacre/id/161/rec/1