By Gary Libby
CAFAM recently acquired four photographs of the former Pekin Restaurant in Bangor. These 1920s vintage photos, showing the exterior and interior, complement an oral interview of Raymond Li Min Huang, the son of the Pekin’s founder. CAFAM also obtained a photo of Raymond, then known as Raymond Jones, as a 6-year-old child in 1929 taken outside the Pekin, as well as a 1930s menu. All these items now reside in the Maine Chinese Archive at the Maine Historical Society.
The Pekin was established by a man named Wong Jack June (“Jack June” being a rather loose spelling of his personal name). He was born in the Toishan District of Guangdong Province in 1893. (Toishan – or Taishan — is a place from which large numbers emigrated in the 19th and 20th centuries.) At 16 or 17 he immigrated to Seattle to join some cousins there. When he arrived, the authorities declared him to be Wong Jack Jones, and “Jones” he remained thereafter. He worked for about a year in the Washington salmon canneries before joining other relatives in New York City and becoming a waiter in a Manhattan Chinese restaurant. More