It’s Farwell’s Map of Chinatown in San Francisco (1885) by way of The BIGMAPBLOG.
Here’s Grant Avenue and Pacific, which then, as now, is just to the west of Columbus, which you can see in the lower right corner:
Click to expand
Here’s your legend:
CREAM: “General Chinese Occupancy”
SALMON: “Chinese Gambling Houses”
GREEN: “Chinese Prostitution”
YELLOW: “Chinese Opium Resorts”
RED: “Chinese Joss Houses”
BLUE: “White Prostitution”
People were very direct back in the day, non?
Oh, hey, speaking of 1880’s San Francisco, here’s what happens when you let “downtown” take over San Francisco municipal government, when you try to help legacy businesses fight back against “unfair” competition:
In the 1880s, Chinese immigrants to California faced many legal and economic hurdles, including discriminatory provisions in the California Constitution. As a result, they were excluded, either by law or by bias, from many professions. Many turned to the laundry business and in San Francisco about 89% of the laundry workers were of Chinese descent.
In 1880, the city of San Francisco passed an ordinance that persons could not operate a laundry in a wooden building without a permit from the Board of Supervisors. The ordinance conferred upon the Board of Supervisors the discretion to grant or withhold the permits. At the time, about 95% of the city’s 320 laundries were operated in wooden buildings. Approximately two-thirds of those laundries were owned by Chinese persons. Although most of the city’s wooden building laundry owners applied for a permit, none were granted to any Chinese owner, while only one out of approximately eighty non-Chinese applicants was denied a permit.
Yick Wo (益和, Pinyin: Yì Hé, Americanization: Lee Yick), who had lived in California and had operated a laundry in the same wooden building for many years and held a valid license to operate his laundry issued by the Board of Fire-Wardens, continued to operate his laundry and was convicted and fined $10.00 for violating the ordinance. He sued for a writ of habeas corpus after he was imprisoned in default for having refused to pay the fine.
The state argued that the ordinance was strictly one out of concern for safety, as laundries of the day often needed very hot stoves to boil water for laundry, and indeed laundry fires were not unknown and often resulted in the destruction of adjoining buildings as well. However, the petitioner pointed out that prior to the new ordinance, the inspection and approval of laundries in wooden buildings had been left up to fire wardens. Yick Wo’s laundry had never failed an inspection for fire safety. Moreover, the application of the prior law focused only on laundries in crowded areas of the city, while the new law was being enforced on isolated wooden buildings as well. The law also ignored other wooden buildings where fires were common—even cooking stoves posed the same risk as those used for laundries.
The Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Matthews, found that the administration of the statute in question was discriminatory and that there was therefore no need to even consider whether the ordinance itself was lawful. Even though the Chinese laundry owners were usually not American citizens, the court ruled they were still entitled to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Matthews also noted that the court had previously ruled that it was acceptable to hold administrators of the law liable when they abused their authority. He denounced the law as a blatant attempt to exclude Chinese from the laundry trade in San Francisco, and the court struck down the law, ordering dismissal of all charges against other laundry owners who had been jailed.
Yick Wo totally pwned corrupt San Francisco government back in the day. (Shortly after, we went in a different direction. “Separate but equal” came along and kind of messed things up, but anyway.)
Thanks for the map, Big Map Blog!
Tags: 1885, 2011, 59, bay area, big maps, bigmapblog, blog, california, China, chinatown, chinese, corruption, gambling, laundry, map, maps, Opium, Opium Resorts, prostitution, Resorts, San Francisco, white, Yick Wo