“Chinatown has had to fight to survive”

May, 15, 2016 – Philly.com


With the recent 100th anniversary of the birth of preservationist Jane Jacobs, consider the history of one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods: Chinatown.

Philadelphia is connected to one of the earliest instances of Sino-American relations. The 1784 journey of the ginseng-laden Empress of China to Canton (present-day Guangzhou) – the United States’ first successful voyage to insular imperial China – was financed primarily by Philadelphian Robert Morris.

The beginning of the city’s Chinatown is often traced to the early 1870s, with the opening of Lee Fong’s laundry on Race Street’s 900 block. Fong, like many Chinese, fled the Sinophobia coursing through the American West.

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