Photos: Old Chinatown | KCET
Photos: Old Chinatown
By 1870, an identifiable "Chinatown" of two hundred or so inhabitants was situated on Calle de Los Negros - Street of the Dark Hued Ones - a short alley fifty feet wide and one block long between El Pueblo Plaza and Old Arcadia Street. These early, mostly male Chinese residents worked as laundrymen, market gardeners, agricultural and ranch workers, and road builders. Built on segregated covenant land near the train tracks, Los Angeles' first Chinatown eventually became home to more than three thousand Chinese. Given the lack of social services and political representation available to the sojourners, Old Chinatown was by necessity a tightly knit community, surviving through family networks with close ties to homeland China and the many benevolent societies that arose in the early years.