Since the Gold Rush of 1849, Chinatown has been a must-see in San Francisco guidebooks. In the nineteenth century, it was singled out as a blight on the urban landscape; today, it is seen as an asset to the city’s tourist trade. The treatment of Chinatown in the past and the present obscures the realities of history. This presentation takes a look at its history from a perspective not presented in guidebooks or textbooks.
Philip Choy is a third-generation San Franciscan. He says,
“I first learned the history of the ‘Wild West’ by going to Saturday matinees. The occasional appearance of Chinese cooks with the chuck wagons piqued my curiosity and ultimately led me to discover that the Chinese were a part of the developing West not found in our history books.”
He is the author of San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture (City Lights, 2012).
Doors open at 7 p.m. with refreshments and a S.F. historical book sale, while the presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. sharp. There is a $5 admission for non-members of SFHA. Limited parking in schoolyard (entrance on Elizabeth St.), but additional parking is available on surrounding streets. Muni: 24-Divisadero and 48-Quintara stop at Castro and 24th streets; 35-Eureka stops at Diamond and 24th streets.