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


Chinatown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jordan Yee AKA "Ranger Yee", circa December 2009
1. Chinatown Marker
Inscription.  From 1872 to 1887, a large Chinese population occupied this block of Market Street. Despite considerable discrimination against them, the Chinese managed to survive within their insular community. By the late 1880's, as downtown businesses began establishing themselves along South First Street, many saw Chinatown as a barrier to future expansion. Unsuccessful efforts were made to dislodge the Chinese. On May 4, 1887, a fire of suspicious origins, raced through the dense brick and wooden buildings of Chinatown, destroying the entire community in a matter of hours. Ruined and homeless, the Chinese were forced to relocate.
Erected by City of San Jose. Historic Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 2.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1877.
Location. 37° 19.941′ N, 121° 53.355′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is at the intersection of Market Street and Paseo De San Antonio, on the right when traveling
Chinatown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jordan Yee AKA "Ranger Yee", circa December 2009
2. Chinatown Marker
Present day street sign indicate the business thoroughfare Market Street is today.
Click or scan to see
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north on Market Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Jose CA 95113, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Burning of San Jose Chinatown (a few steps from this marker); First State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); First State Capitol Building (within shouting distance of this marker); The Freedom Tree (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez (about 300 feet away); United States Post Office (about 500 feet away); Centennial Commemoration of the World's First Broadcasting Station (about 500 feet away); Site of Worlds First Broadcasting Station / World’s First Broadcasting Station (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Jose.
More about this marker. This marker is Number 2 in the San Jose History Walk.

See the Nearby Marker that commemorates specifically the fire that burnt down this significant Chinatown.
Additional commentary.
1. Background history to the burning
The writer Jean Pfaelzer in her recent book "Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese" wrote this about San Jose's Chinatown,

"To erase the traditional boundaries of Chinatown, the mayor [Republican C. W. Breyfogle] searched old maps and land titles. On March 25, 1887 Breyfogle and the common council declared all Chinatown a public nuisance. And seeking to condemn Chinatown.... the mayor and the common council voted to remove Chinatown from San Jose.... Still, San Jose's Chinatown
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grew; it was the economic and social center for three thousand farmworkers, for domestic servants who lived in their employers houses, and for local Chinese merchants and laborers. "
    — Submitted January 5, 2010, by Jordan Yee AKA "Ranger Yee" of Fremont, California.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 5, 2010, by Jordan Yee AKA "Ranger Yee" of Fremont, California. This page has been viewed 1,493 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 5, 2010, by Jordan Yee AKA "Ranger Yee" of Fremont, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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May. 10, 2021