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San Francisco in the 1930sThe WPA Guide to the City by the Bay$
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Federal Writers Project of the Works Project Administration

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520268807

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520268807.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021



(p.220) Chinatown
San Francisco in the 1930s

David Kipen

University of California Press

The quarter of old Canton, transplanted and transformed, neither quite oriental nor wholly occidental, San Francisco's Chinatown yields to the ways of the West while continuing to venerate a native civilization as ancient as the Pyramids. Grant Avenue, its main thoroughfare, leads northward from Bush Street through a veritable city-within-a-city—alien in appearance to all the rest of San Francisco—hemmed within boundaries kept by tacit agreement with municipal authorities for almost a century. Chinatown enjoys a measure of civil autonomy unique among San Francisco's foreign sections. Though police protection, public education, and public health are directed by municipal authorities, local affairs are controlled largely by the powerful Chinese Six Companies. Labor relations, family regulation, traditional customs, and commercial activities are the province of this unusual body.

Keywords:   San Francisco, Chinatown, Grant Avenue, civil autonomy, police, education, public health, Chinese Six Companies

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