By: Marc Stiles – Puget Sound Business Journal
June 12, 2015
The Panama Hotel in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District is an intriguing place where you can still see the trunks and suitcases that Japanese-Americans were forced to leave behind when they were ordered into internment camps during World War II.
As a place that so clearly demonstrates the inhumanity of the internment, the Panama on Thursday was named a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The 104-year-old Panama is the trust’s first treasure in Seattle and the country’s 60th.
The listing means that the never-reclaimed belongings will be saved, and that some of the mystery surrounding them might be solved. The National Trust is working with hotel owner Jan Johnson and the nonprofit group Historic Seattle on the project. A “historic structures report” about the hotel already has been written. Now the trust is seeking a grant from the National Park Services to inventory, document, catalogue, and research the items.