Save the International Hotel Records, 1968 - 2010

Finding aid created by Ethnic Studies Library staff using RecordEXPRESS
UC Berkeley. Ethnic Studies Library
University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, 30 Stephens Hall #2630
Berkeley, California 94720-2360
(510) 643-1234

Descriptive Summary

Title: Save the International Hotel Records, 1968 - 2010
Dates: 1968 - 2010
Collection Number: AAS ARC 2019/2
Creator/Collector: International Hotel Tenants Association San Francisco Examiner San Francisco Chronicle East-West The Daily Californian The San Francisco Journal Ang Katipunan International Hotel Senior Housing, Inc.
Extent: 1.71 linear feet (One Box and One Oversize Folder)
Repository: UC Berkeley. Ethnic Studies Library
Berkeley, California 94720-2360
Abstract: The decade(s) long struggle to save the International Hotel (I-Hotel) focused on resisting a looming eviction that would have displaced its mostly elderly and low income Chinese and Filipino residents from the Manilatown neighborhood in San Francisco. This collection contains comprehensive news articles and periodicals documenting the struggle to save the I-Hotel as well as anti-eviction informational materials, flyers, posters produced by residents of the hotel and supporters.
Language of Material: English


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the curator, Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-2360.

Preferred Citation

Save the International Hotel Records, 1968 - 2010. UC Berkeley. Ethnic Studies Library

Acquisition Information

Arranged by Janice Otani.

Biography/Administrative History

The International Hotel (I-Hotel) was a low-income residential hotel that housed mostly elderly Chinese and Filipino men located in Manilatown, San Francisco. Beginning in 1968, the tenants faced the possibility of displacement when the owner, Milton Meyer & Co., issued the first eviction notice with a plan to demolish the hotel for a parking lot. In 1973, an international investment corporation called Four Seas purchased I-Hotel with plans of commercial development. In between those years, the tenants alongside the community maintained constant pressure on the city of San Francisco with protests and mass mobilizations in order to not only save the tenants from eviction but to protect low-income housing from Financial District encroachment. The movement to save the I-Hotel was a broad coalition of students, tenants, and community organizers as well as larger organizations such as the United Filipino Association (UFA), Asian Community Center, and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). Its base further expanded with the support and participation from college students and activists who were heavily involved in the Third World Liberation Front strikes of San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley. During this time period, the I-Hotel became the epicenter of Asian-American community organizing serving as a community center as well as site of a street level bookstore. In the spring of 1972, the International Hotel Tenants Association (IHTA) formed. The nine-year struggle came to an end in August 4, 1977 when, following a court order, the tenants were forcible evicted early in the morning by 400 police dressed in riot gar. Despite being forced from the building, the tenants and their supporters who had formed a human barricade around the site received widespread local and national news coverage and attention. Some of the images captured that evening forever memorialized the struggle to save low cost housing in San Francisco. In 1979, the Four Seas Corporation demolished the I-Hotel and began negotiations on the development plan for now empty site. Former tenants and community members formed the I Hotel Citizens Advisory Committee (IHCAC) with the goal of advocating for the development plan to include input and direction from the local community. One of their primary tactics was to put continuous pressure on Mayor Dianne Feinstein to secure additional funds for senior subsidized housing. After multiple failed negotiations, Four Seas and other developers withdrew, leaving the IHCAC to advocate for a new I-Hotel which opened its doors in 2005 after 26 years of tenant and community organizing. Today, the Manilatown Heritage Foundation continues to preserve the cultural and historic significance of the site.

Scope and Content of Collection

The decade(s) long struggle to save the International Hotel (I-Hotel) focused on resisting a looming eviction that would have displaced its mostly elderly and low income Chinese and Filipino residents from the Manilatown neighborhood in San Francisco. Beginning in 1968, when the owners of the building Milton Meyer & Co. issued the first eviction notice with a plan to turn the low-rent housing into a parking lot, tenants and community members organized to keep residents in the hotel, advocate for improvements to living conditions as well as protect other affordable housing from encroachment by the expanding Financial District. Although residents were eventually evicted in 1977, the community continued to advocate for their right to housing and in 2005 the International Hotel Manilatown Center was completed, containing units for senior housing as well as a cultural center. The collection contains comprehensive newspaper coverage of the nine year struggle of I-Hotel tenants’ fight against eviction as well as campaigns for affordable housing and better living conditions and the preservation of Manilatown’s culture. It also contains informational documents produced by the International Hotel Tenants Association, announcement and update materials translated in English and Chinese, commemoration materials produced after the re-opening of the hotel and cultural center, photos, and advocacy materials including pamphlets, flyers and posters. The collection is comprised of materials that not only document the news coverage of the various anti-eviction campaigns but also captures the determination of residents to stay in their homes.

Indexing Terms

International Hotel (San Francisco, Calif.)
Manilatown (San Francisco, Calif.)
International Hotel Tenants Association (San Francisco, Calif.)
Community Development
San Francisco, California

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