The Chinese American Communities
in Los Angeles


Written by William Gow (PDF)

In 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, plans were finalized to build Union Station on the site of the original Los Angeles Chinatown. Over the next few years, Old Chinatown was slowly demolished, and thousands of residents were forced to look for housing elsewhere. Barred from living or buying property in many parts of the city by restrictive housing covenants, the former residents of old Chinatown had limited options.

Many Chinese Americans resettled in the City Market area, in the neighborhood next to the wholesale produce market at 9th and San Pedro. Others relocated to the neighborhood dubbed East Adams near the corner of East Adams and San Pedro Street. This multi-ethnic community soon became home to many of the Chinese Americans who worked in City Market who wanted to purchase a single family home. As the communities surrounding City Market Chinatown and East Adams grew, two other Chinese American communities took shape in the shadows of the newly built Union Station. One of these communities, New Chinatown, was the product of a group of Chinese American business leaders headed by Peter SooHoo. The other project, dubbed China City, was the product of Christine Sterling, the entrepreneur who had brought the city the tourist attraction Olvera Street.

Follow the links below to learn more about each of these Chinese American neighborhoods.