San Jose cocksuckas!

That’s a Deadwood reference there in the title. I have nothing against the fine folks of San Jose.

Quite the opposite, in fact, since they’re bucking the trend and turning a parking lot into an archaeological excavation of a turn of the century Chinatown.

Starting on Tuesday, historians, archaeologists and two community members will spend 10 days digging on the block bounded by Jackson, Sixth, Taylor and Seventh streets. Their hope? To find a trove of post-1887 artifacts from the lost community that provided a rare sanctuary amid the anti-Chinese hostility gripping California.

Buried on the site may be evidence of how San Jose’s Chinese population indeed thrived – all thanks to an enigmatic German landowner who risked his livelihood to lend them a home. […]

In May 1887, when arsonists burned down the Chinatown where the Fairmont San Jose hotel now stands, 71-year-old John Heinlen stepped forward. He ignored angry mobs and fought an attempted injunction by city leaders to offer low-cost leases to build on pastureland he owned. Chinese were barred from owning land.

Chinatown stood on Heinlen’s land until the depression bankrupted him and the banks took over the property. Eventually the buildings were all razed and the city paved the block over with concrete. Until now.

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6 Comments »

Comment by wei yau
2008-03-12 06:59:57

:love:

Wow, this is very exciting. I had no idea that we Chinese had our Schindler, in the form of Heinlen.

I bet that they will find some very cool and interesting stuff. Maybe even the location of Woo’s pig pen.

I find that I don’t know enough of the history of Chinese in America and will definitely be tracking this story for further developements.

Comment by livius drusus
2008-03-12 07:18:51

:lol: @ the Schindler Chinese.

The nice lady in the picture, Connie Young Yu, has written a book about San Jose’s Chinatown, but it doesn’t look like it’s very widely distributed. It’s not on Amazon, at any rate.

The first layer of asphalt has been removed and the excavators already found pieces of porcelain on day one. I’ll update the story when the 10 days of digging are over.

 
 
Comment by Clutch
2008-03-12 07:36:19

They both built shells for the Germans… but Heinlen’s worked, dammit!

Anyhoo. Man, there’s a rich and detailed history of racism in the New World. Canada’s treatment of Asians through the 19th and most of the 20th century is every bit as disgraceful.

Comment by livius drusus
2008-03-12 08:02:59

There are Asians in Canada? Man, I’m beginning to think that real estate agent who told me non-whites can’t live in cold climates might not have had her facts straight.

Comment by Clutch
2008-03-14 07:02:39

Ah, if only I could believe you’re joking.

 
 
 
Comment by wei yau
2008-03-17 14:54:30

I read a book “The Chinese in America” and was completely fascinated by the history of the Chinese, uh, in America.

Despite being Chinese myself, I was completely unaware of so much of that history. And the idea that such a blatantly racist law like “The Chinese Exclusion Act” could ever be passed, made me realize just how different the world was way back in … 1882.

Without that law, the story of Chinese immigration in America, hell the story of America itself would undoubtedly have been very different.

During the time the law was in effect, European immigration exploded and shaped America, particularly the East Coast. I can scarcely imagine how different the American West would have been if the Chinese had been allowed to immigrate in the same numbers or even larger.

Think about it…we could be talking about the fighting Tongs in L.A., the Bruds and the Clips.

 
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