|Neighborhood of Sacramento|
Paifang at Sacramento's Chinatown Mall
Sacramento's Chinatown was located on "I" Street from Second to Sixth Streets. At the time this area of "I" Street was considered a health hazard as, lying within a levee zone it was lower than other parts of the city which were situated on higher land.
Throughout the early 1840s and 1850s, China was at war with Great Britain and France in the First and Second Opium Wars. The wars, along with endemic poverty in China, helped drive many Chinese immigrants to America. Many first came to San Francisco, which was then the largest city in California, which was known as "Dai Fow" (The Big City) and some came eventually to Sacramento (then the second-largest city in California), which is known as "Yee Fow" (Second City). Many of these immigrants came in hopes for a better life as well as the possibility of finding gold in the foothills east of Sacramento.
Throughout Sacramento's Chinatown history there were fires, acts of discrimination, and prejudicial legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act that was not repealed until 1943. The mysterious fires were thought to be set off by those who did not take a liking to the Chinese working class. Ordinances on what was viable building material were set into place to try to get the Chinese to move out. Newspapers such as The Sacramento Union, at the time, wrote stories that portrayed the Chinese in an unfavorable light to inspire ethnic discrimination and drive the Chinese away. As the years passed, a railroad was created over parts of the Chinatown and further politics and laws would make it even harder for Chinese workers to sustain a living in Sacramento. While the east side of the country fought for higher wages and fewer working hours, many cities in the western United States wanted the Chinese out because of the belief that they were stealing jobs from the white working class.
The Chinese remained resilient despite these efforts. They built their buildings out of bricks just as the building guidelines established. They helped build part of the railroads that span the city as well as making a great contribution to the transcontinental railroad that spans the United States. They also helped build the levees within Sacramento and the surrounding cities. As a result, they are a well-recognized part of Sacramento's history and heritage.
While most of Sacramento's Chinatown has now been razed, a small Chinatown mall remains, as well as a museum dedicated to the history of Sacramento's Chinatown and the contributions Chinese Americans have made to the city. Amtrak sits along what was part of Sacramento's Chinatown "I" Street.
- "Sacramento’s Chinatown - News - Local Stories - June 28, 2007 - Sacramento News & Review". Newsreview.com. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "Friends Of the Yee Fow Museum". Yeefowmuseum.org. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "An Evidentiary Timeline on the History of Sacramento's Chinatown". Yeefow.com. Retrieved 2012-11-16.