“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fresno in Fresno County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

China Alley


China Alley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
1. China Alley Marker
Inscription. In 1874 600 people moved to what is now Fresno. Of those, 200 were Chinese, who made the brick and helped start the building of Fresno. A short time later, they were persuaded to settle west of the train tracks. They built an area of shops, which catered to all ethnic backgrounds. It was a thriving area that offered goods, services, and "entertainment" day and night. It was the cosmopolitan area of Fresno for many years and to this day this area still has influence on the city. The brick used here came from an eighty-plus year-old church torn down in the 1970's and is thought to have been made by the Chinese settlers.
Dedicated February 11, 2006
E Clampus Vitus
Jim Savage Chapter 1852

Erected 2006 by E Clampus Vitus, Jim Savage Chapter 1852.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. 36° 43.783′ N, 119° 47.6′ W. Marker is in Fresno, California, in Fresno County. Marker is at the intersection of Kern Street and China Alley, on the right when traveling south on Kern Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1535 Kern Street, Fresno CA 93706, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
China Alley Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson, circa 2006
2. China Alley Marker
Picture is taken from the sidewalk on Kern just to the right of the alley, a post partially blocks the view. The Bing Kong Society building can be seen next to the telephone pole in this picture and matches up with the 1905 picture. The wall on the right is Central Fish Company, one of the longest continuing businesses located in Fresno's Chinatown.
of this marker. Kogetsu-Do (within shouting distance of this marker); The Basque Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Green Bush Spring (approx. 0.3 miles away but has been reported missing); William Saroyan (approx. 0.4 miles away); Honoring the Ex-Braceros and Their Contributions (approx. half a mile away); Fresno County Courthouse (approx. half a mile away); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (approx. half a mile away); Purple Heart Memorial (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Fresno.
More about this marker. Information supplied by long deceased residents has led to the discoveries of several tunnels below the buildings, streets and alleys of Chinatown, some used for storage, and some believed to have been used to move people and contraband below the streets of the area in the early 1900's
Regarding China Alley. Many of the old brick buildings on China Alley can be recognized as having been businesses that faced the alley years ago. Although most of the doorways and windows that faced the alley have long since been bricked over, the patterns of bricks clearly show that business was not just conducted on the streets of Chinatown, it was also conducted in the alleys.
Also see . . .
China Alley 1905 image. Click for full size.
3. China Alley 1905
The alley as it looked in 1905

1. History of Chinese Americans in California. (Submitted on January 2, 2010.)
2. Fresno's Tunnels - A Gateway to Secret History of Chinatown. A USA Today article by Juliana Barbassa, The Associated Press, regarding the tunnels and Fresno's Chinatown. (Submitted on January 2, 2010.) 
Additional keywords. China Downtown Central, Fish Fagen Alley, Tunnels
Categories. Asian AmericansSettlements & Settlers
China Alley in 2006 image. Click for full size.
By Lester J Letson
4. China Alley in 2006
China Alley as it looks today, with some of the buildings from 1905 still standing.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,794 times since then and 36 times this year. Last updated on . Photos:   1. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   2. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California.   3, 4. submitted on , by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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