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Asian Pacific Historic District Gateway - page 3 / 38





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festival spaces; hardscape tapestry; landscape; public art; and lighting.

Currently, CCDC has employed a consultant team to finalize design and construction documents for the public improvements to the APHD. It is anticipated that construction on the improvements may begin as soon as late summer 2010. The artist who is awarded a contract through this competitive process will create artwork proposals and create the artwork(s) with the input of CCDC’s design/construction consultants.

Historical Significance of San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District by Murray K. Lee, Curator of Chinese American History, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

The Chinese had a significant presence in the early history of San Diego. They had a fishing and shipbuilding industry based at Point Loma dating from the 1860s. After Alonzo Horton founded “New Town,” the Chinese established another fishing village along San Diego’s harbor at the foot of Third Street. This move helped in the formation of a Chinatown in the adjacent area. When the California Southern Railroad was built with the help of Chinese labor, the fishermen were in the path of the rails and had to move back to Point Loma. By this time, there was a sufficient base for a viable Chinese community in the area south of Market to the harbor and between Second and Sixth Streets. The Chinese in San Diego began to establish businesses in the Chinatown area and became a significant part of the city’s service industry. Many were employed in the households of prominent San Diego families as cooks, houseboys, and gardeners. The Chinese were active in the service industry with laundries, tailor shops, barbershops, herbal stores, and produce businesses. San Diego had a shortage of construction labor and the Chinese filled this need by supplying workers for the clearing of land and the construction of the Del Coronado Hotel. Besides supplying labor for the construction of the California Southern Railroad, they worked on the San Diego Flume as well as projects involving dams, flood control, mining, and irrigation. They began to farm areas in Mission and Sweetwater Valleys and to sell their produce door to door in the city.

The Exclusion Laws of 1882 and 1892 forced the Chinese out of the fishing and shipbuilding industry and seriously limited the growth of the Chinese community. It was the first of several negative impacts. In the late 1800s, Japanese immigrants began to come into San Diego. They established small businesses alongside the Chinese in an area centered on Fifth and Island. They took over the fishing industry vacated by the Chinese and also entered the market gardening business. The second negative impact on the community was the cleanup campaign primarily directed at the Stingaree (red

light district) prior to the many businesses. By the the growth of families. benevolent associations.

1915 Panama-California Exposition. Chinatown lost much of its housing and 1930s the area began to recover and slowly the bachelor society gave way to The Chinese had their own social organizations, such as kinship and They also had the Chinese Mission, which under the tutelage of their pastor

became a positive influence in the lives of the youth. The newly arrived to live in the church dormitories until they could learn English and get

immigrant men were allowed better jobs. Early businesses


















The “Fifth and Island” center of the Japanese community began to radiate out from this area. They included pool halls, restaurants, barbershops, merchandising stores, groceries, and food processing. The Filipino presence in the area was primarily a bachelor society. They had barbershops, pool halls,

CCDC/City of San Diego Asian Pacific Historic District Gateway Public Art March 2010 Page 3 of 38

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