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Views of Chinatown and related neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles: Finding Aid
photCL 502  
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Collection Overview
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This collection contains 131 black-and-white photographs (including some duplicates) of views of building exteriors and streets scenes in Old Chinatown and neighboring residential and industrial areas of downtown Los Angeles, California, that were taken prior to the demolition of the area beginning on December 23, 1933, to make way for the Los Angeles Union Station railroad passenger terminal. The views include images of industrial and commercial areas; retail storefronts; warehouses, manufacturing, utility and railroad buildings; houses and apartments with balconies; dirt streets and alleys; children; automobiles; and dilapidated and vacant buildings. Notably, almost all of the images are annotated with the street addresses of the buildings depicted.
Chinese immigrants began establishing businesses and residences in downtown Los Angeles in the 1870s, near the historic Los Angeles Plaza. By the 1880s, the Chinatown community had expanded to east of Alameda Street to land bordered by Macy Street (later renamed Cesar E. Chavez Avenue). In the 1910s, property near the Plaza that encompassed much of Chinatown and adjacent railroad and industrial land was identified as a potential site for a union passenger railroad terminal to be shared by the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. By the early 1930s, following years of litigation over the project, plans were finalized to build the terminal on the site. The project required the acquisition of the land, much of it owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad, the relocation of affected residents, and the razing of all buildings. The demolition of old Chinatown began on December 23, 1933, and the grand opening of the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal occurred on May 3, 1939. "New Chinatown," developed by Chinese-American leaders, was built a few blocks north of the old Chinatown, opened in June 1938.
131 photographs : gelatin silver prints ; sheets 20 x 25 cm (8 x 10 format)
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