923 Nuuanu Avenue
Style: Early 20th Century Commercial
Wing Wo Tai & Co., a leading Chinese import company, was founded in Hong Kong in 1845 and expanded their exports to Hawaii in 1877. Upon their arrival, the company opened their first store on the corner of King Street and Nuuanu Avenue. The store sold a variety of items including teakwood furniture, silk, ivory goods, liquor, and groceries. The building's location allowed the company to serve both the Merchant Street business community and the Asian residents of Chinatown.
On December 11, 1899, Wing Wo Tai & Co.'s bookkeeper was the first to be diagnosed with the bubonic plague. The city organized controlled fires in January of 1900 to stop the spread of the disease. The Board of Health was reluctant to let Wing Wo Tai & Co. resume operation until all partitions were removed, floors were treated with sulfuric acid, lean-tos were torn down, food was destroyed, and other goods were thoroughly fumigated.
The current Wing Wo Tai & Co. Building was built in 1916 from volcanic stone with plaster and stucco. Two years are embossed on either side of the company name; the year the company arrived is on the left, and the year the new building was built is on the right.
Wing Wo Tai & Co. sold the building in 1935 and continued to operate from the property until Office Appliance Company purchased the building in 1956. The Wing Wo Tai Association purchased the building in 1976. The interior of the building saw a lot of change through the next year. Renovation designs for restaurant use were created by the architect firm Anderson/Reinhardt. The building was sold in 1986 and a three-story expansion was added to the rear of the building in 1988.