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Wing Chong Building

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1918. West side of Cannery Row between David Ave. and Bruce Ariss Way.
  • (Photograph by Jasperdo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This two-story rectangular building with wooden shiplap siding is the former Wing Chong Company Grocery, which inspired the Lee Chong grocery in Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row. The business—whose name means “glorious successful”—was founded by Won Yee (d. 1934), who emigrated from China in 1913. Yee was pivotal in developing the process to dry squid for export to China. The grocery was more like a general store that served the cannery workers: besides selling food products, it offered items such as work gloves and fishing gear. By 1937, the family business had expanded into the Yock H. Yee Restaurant as well as a grocery.

The building represents the Chinese community’s presence in Monterey. Its interior light wells in the center of the building are a traditional Chinese architectural design feature, while the second-story cantilevered balcony is the exterior’s most notable feature. Today the structure is occupied by various shops, although a sign indicating its former use is visible on the facade.


Architectural Resources Group. “Final Cannery Row Cultural Resources Survey Report Document.” Prepared for the City of Monterey, California, 2001.

Writing Credits

Heather N. McMahon
Emily Bills



  • 1918

    Design and construction

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Heather N. McMahon, "Wing Chong Building", [Monterey, California], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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