House of Wong
photos courtesy of Diane Macaraeg-Langenfus,
unless otherwise noted
Jerry Young Wong (1910-1994) and Eleanor Beckett Wong (1913-2005)
Photo taken in
Vancouver, Washington on their wedding day, 1935
of Wong was a popular Helena Chinese restaurant. It operated
at two locations:
3 South Main, 1947-1974; 2711 North Montana Avenue, 1974-2004.
Young Wong worked in various Helena restaurants, including
Yat Son, before opening the original House of Wong at 3 South
Main in 1947. The building was demolished in 1974-75, during
"Urban Renewal". Below is the footprint of the building
superimposed on a recent satellite image...
Opening Newspaper Ad
Original House of Wong, About 1973
Renewal" Had Begun on South Main
OF LORILEI COCHRAN
Original House of Wong Shortly Before "Urban Renwal" Demolition,
anyone has information about Wong's distinctive tile façade,
please let me know.
in Wong's, Early 1970s
"The old House of Wong had at one time two private party
boots in the middle, could seat up to 12 in each, and they
divided the tables off into tables of 4 during the "Bar
Crowd" and "supper hour" if there were no parties
In the 60's they tore the booth walls, in the middle sections
only, down and opened the space up with tables in the center.
Crowd started about midnight and lasted till 3:30 am...everyone
in Helena went for NOODLES after the bars closed.....that
was always fun to work, quite an education if you were 14
supper hour was from 4:30pm till about 8:30pm. The restruant
would be cleaned and prep for the bar crowd would start. Mr.
Wong always served his staff dinner after that time, and you
ate whatever he fixed...no ordering off the menu."
Station in the 0riginal House of Wong
Final night of operation, 1974
| On the
left is Rose Marie Macaraeg. Dorothy Jungers is on the right;
she was a waitress with the House of Wong for some twenty years.
of Wong Noodle Bowl and Matches
matches show the post-1974 North Montana Ave. address, but the design
was the same for the original location.
James Macaraeg (1950-2009) and Grandfather Jerry Wong
at work in the kitchen of the original House of Wong, 1963-64.
"Family members all were given jobs at sometimes very
young ages. some as early as 13 to 14 years old.to start their
Renewal Demoliton, 1974-75
HOUSE OF WONG: 46°36'43.14"N 112° 1'14.38"W
and Jerry Wong at the Grand Opening, Montana Avenue Location, 1974
Wong at the Montana Avenue Location
on Montana Avenue
and Eleanor Wong at the Restaurant , Shortly Before Jerry's Passing
closed about 2004. The 1974 Montana Avenue building has been
demolished. There is an Auto Zone store there now.
Note: From 1909 to 1953,
it was against Montana law for Whites to intermarry with Chinese,
Japanese or Blacks. Such laws are called Miscegenation Laws
(from the Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind").
This seems cruel and absurd to us today, but nearly every
state has had, at some time, such laws.
a glimpse into what life was like for the Chinese in Montana
during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, please read
the essay "The
Chinese Experience in Frontier Montana" by Robert
W. Swartout, Jr.
things are the way they are, and some things you cannot change.
You must learn to change the way you are present within it."
Jerry Young Wong
back to RESTAURANTS & BARS