Old Chinatown of Los Angeles

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Old Chinatown of Los Angeles

Chinese first established their community in Los Angeles at today's El Pueblo Historical Monument. About two hundred settled by the year 1870. This number gradually increased over the years when the Southern Pacific began to construct a railroad from San Francisco in the 1870s. They were farm laborers, servants, road builders and small shopkeepers. Even with heavy discrimination during this time, Chinese held a dominant economic position in the Los Angeles laundry and produce industries for several years. Due to this old Chinatown explained its' boundaries eastward from the Plaza across from Alameda Street and grew to a population of over three thousand.

The Chinese never owned major land or property but, were lessees, subleases or tenants. Laws were in place preventing them from becoming citizens and in turn property owners. The Chinese settled mostly on land owned by Juan Apablasa and controlled by his widow. This inability to own land would latter come back to haunt them.

One of the most serious incidents of racial violence that has ever occurred in Los Angeles happened in October of 1871. Nineteen Chinese men and boys were murdered in a racial violence by a mob of five hundred locals. This riot was triggered when a fight broke out between two Chinese men over a Chinese girl. A Caucasian man was accidental slayed while caught in the crossfire. This was fueled by the growing movement of anti-Chinese discrimination in California, which would climax in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. This would be known as the infamous Chinese Massacre.

Old Chinatown's heyday was between the years of 1890-1910. It could count 15 or so streets and alleys, and perhaps 200 building units. I...

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...arge of their needs and problems. The local property owners joined together to build a legal group, BID, to help them realize common goals for their properties and surrounding areas. BID, which stands for Business Improvement District, has goals that include creating a clean, safe and friendly environment, increasing visitors to the area and enhancing property values. This is to help secure their place as a huge tourism site in Los Angeles.


BID. http://www.chinatownla.com/bid_main.htm

Chinese Americans in Los Angeles. http://www.camla.org/history.htm

Chinatown Walking Tour. http://www.chinatownla.com/walkingtour.htm

History of Old Chinatown Los Angeles. http://oldchinatownla.com/history.html

1871 Los Angeles Chinese Massacre: A Statement of Remembrance.


See, Lisa. On Gold Mountain.

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