[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 91 (Thursday, June 23, 2011)]
[Pages S4070-S4071]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS



 Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize a Butte 
institution. The Pekin Noodle Parlor has served generations of 
Montanans from all walks of life. My good friends, Danny and Sharon 
Tam, and their family have run the parlor for an astounding 100 years. 
For generations, the parlor has been a centerpiece of Chinatown and an 
evolving Butte community. The restaurant specializes in Chinese and 
American fare, and the lower level has housed a wide array of 
activities--from Chinese social organizations to herbal medicine. I 
also want to recognize the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives for their 
unparalleled work collecting and preserving the treasured history of 
Butte-Silver Bow. In particular, their efforts to protect the cherished 
narrative of the Pekin Noodle Parlor will be recognized for years to 
come. I ask that their commemoration of the Pekin Noodle Parlor below 
be printed in the Record.
  One hundred years ago, Hum Yow opened his Pekin Noodle Parlor on the 
second floor of the building at 115/117/119 South Main. The 
restaurant's offerings of local favorites, Yatcamein--wet

[[Page S4071]]

noodles--and chop suey, were eaten by miners, the ``after-theater'' 
crowd, and prominent citizens alike. It always catered to non-Chinese 
clientele, many of whom in the early days were curious to get a glimpse 
of Chinatown. Over time, the noodle parlor came to incorporate a good 
complement of American food on its menu, while retaining its Chinese 
food specialties. Among the attractions were the narrow, beadboard 
booths which allowed semiprivate dining. A seating arrangement that is 
maintained to this day by Hum Yow's nephew, Ding Tam, who is also known 
as Danny Wong.
  While the restaurant business continued upstairs, items from previous 
establishments were stored below. This rare collection of artifacts, 
some dating as early as the 1910s, narrates the position of the Hum/Tam 
family in Butte and among Chinese communities in the western United 
States and China. Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives presents in the 
exhibit, One Family-One Hundred Years, a story of family commitment, 
rather than an emphasis on Chinese illegal drugs and prostitution. 
Displays provide insight into Chinese social organizations, gambling, 
herbal medicine, and the continuing Chinese influence in Butte, MT, by 
the Pekin Noodle Parlor.
  The information follows:

                       A Look Inside the Exhibit

       The Tam family's roots in Montana extend to the 1860s, 
     almost 50 years before the opening of the Pekin Noodle 
     Parlor. Although his name has been forgotten, the first 
     family member to come to the U.S. delivered supplies to the 
     Chinese camps and communities at various places in the 
     American West. Butte was among those camps. By the late 
     1890s, his son came to Butte, where he and others ran a 
     laundry on South Arizona Street for many years. The Quong 
     Fong Laundry was a staple on Arizona well into the mid-1950s 
     even after the Tam family member had returned to China.
       The next generation of family immigrants gained 
     considerable prominence in Chinatown and the community of 
     Butte at large. Hum Yow and Tam Kwong Yee, close relatives 
     from the same district near Canton, China, forged a 
     successful alliance that spanned most of the first half of 
     the twentieth century. After erecting a building at the east 
     edge of Chinatown at 115/117/119 South Main, Hum Yow & Co. 
     established a Chinese mercantile there, to at least the late 
     1910s. By 1914, a Sanborn map shows Hum Yow's noodle parlor 
     on the second floor, while Tam Kwong Yee managed a club room 
     on the first floor facing onto China Alley.
       The inhabitants of Butte's Chinatown formed social clubs 
     that were similar to other fraternal organizations of that 
     time. The purpose of these organizations, according to their 
     articles of incorporation, was to provide for ``. . . mutual 
     helpfulness, mental and moral improvement, mental recreation 
     . . .'' and so on. Artifacts from three known Chinese clubs 
     were found in the basement of the Pekin. Along with the 
     clubs' signs, such items as membership rosters, instruments, 
     maps and photos tell part of the story of these long-gone 
       In the new country, where the Chinese population was 
     predominantly single men who knew little English, gambling 
     was not only a tradition that continued but also became a 
     major form of recreation during social gatherings. As 
     gambling drew in other ethnic groups to Chinatown, the 
     gambling parlors eventually gained entrances on Main Street 
     proper. On the face of the Pekin building, it was in the form 
     of a ``cigar store'' called the London Company at 119 South 
     Main. Hum's Pekin Noodle Parlor and Tam's London Company 
     gambling hall were staples of Butte's Chinatown until 
     gambling was closed across Montana in 1952.
       Unlike many of his countrymen in Butte, Hum Yow married 
     while in the U.S. His wife, Sui (Bessie) Wong, was born and 
     raised in San Francisco. Shortly after marrying in 1915, the 
     Hums began their family, raising their three children in the 
     Pekin building. Tam Kwong Yee, on the other hand, had left 
     his wife and children behind in China but remained close to 
     them, providing financially for both basic needs and advanced 
       As a model of his family values, Tam had been trained as an 
     herbal doctor in China before emigrating to the U.S. It was 
     many years, however, before he had the opportunity to 
     practice his trade in Butte. There were several Chinese 
     herbal doctors in Butte over the years. The most well-known 
     of those from the early twentieth century was Huie Pock, who 
     had his business in the next block of South Main from the 
     Pekin. Several years after Huie's death in 1927, Tam acquired 
     his collection of Chinese herbs.
       By 1942, Tam opened his business, ``Joe Tom's Herbs,'' on 
     the first floor of the Pekin Noodle Parlor building (at the 
     115 South Main address). The business name suggests that Tam 
     specialized in dispensing herbs rather than diagnoses. His 
     on-site advertising, however, promoted ``free consultation'' 
     as well.
       In 1947, Tam's grandson, Ding Tam joined the older man in 
     Butte. Just as thousands of Chinese immigrants before him, 
     Ding came to the U.S. to make money to support his family 
     back home. He quickly became known by the more Americanized 
     name of Danny Wong, the last name taken from Bessie Wong's 
     family. Several years later he took over the Pekin Noodle 
     Parlor while his grandfather continued working as a Chinese 
     herbal doctor. Danny married Sharon Chu on August 9, 1963, 
     and raised five children in Butte, passing down the Tam 
     family's appreciation for higher education, commitment to 
     hard work, and business savvy.