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Chinatown, San Jose, California facts for kids

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San Jose Chinatown
Neighborhood of San Jose
Circle of Palms Plaza and Fairmont at Night, almost all traces of Chinatown are gone from the area that was once a Chinatown
Circle of Palms Plaza and Fairmont at Night, almost all traces of Chinatown are gone from the area that was once a Chinatown
Country  United States
State California
County Santa Clara
City San Jose
ZIP Code
Area code(s) Area code 408

The city of San Jose was home to five Chinatowns that existed until the 1930s:

  • "First" Market Street Chinatown (1866–1870)
  • Vine Street Chinatown (1870–1872)
  • "Second" Market Street Chinatown (1871–1887)
  • Woolen Mills Chinatown (1887–1902)
  • "Heinlenville", also known as the Sixth Street Chinatown (1887–1931)

Chinese American Demographics of San Jose

The city of San Jose is home to 63,434 Chinese Americans according to the 2010 U.S. Census, comprising 6.7% of the city's population.

South 1st Street

The initial Chinatowns in San Jose were frequently burned down by arson, with artifacts from May 1887 discovered during initial excavations in the construction of the Fairmont Hotel. Many of these artifacts were installed at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and are housed in the archives of Stanford University.

Market and San Fernando Streets: "Plaza Street Chinatown"

See also: Circle of Palms Plaza

Another Chinatown was excavated during an urban renewal project to build the Fairmont Hotel and Silicon Valley Financial Center on Market and San Fernando Streets. According to another article, this Chinatown was also known as the "Plaza Street Chinatown", which grew rapidly from the 1860s to the 1870s and was home to "... several hundred Chinese." According to this article , the area at the time was subject to controversy as many whites often complained to the city council about the area as "bothersome". By 1870, the area was burned to the ground with many Chinese evicted from the area as the anti-Chinese public sentiment grew.

The following pictures were taken in the location of the old Plaza Street Chinatown, now the Circle of Palms Plaza:

Sixth Street and Cleveland Street: "Heinlenville"

See also: History Park at Kelley Park

John Heinlen, a farmer and businessman, planned a six block Chinatown with brick structures with water and pipes in the area of Sixth Street and Cleveland Street in 1887, to the dismay of the non-Chinese public and caused public outrage. The area was then known as "Heinlenville" and contained a variety of merchants, barbers, traditional doctors, and Chinese herbal medicine. and the Ng Shing Gung temple. The area was surrounded by Little Italy and co-existed harmoniously, but then dwindled in the 1920s as the younger generations sought careers outside the area and with a lack of new Chinese coming in due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, the area lost almost all of its Chinese population. Some artifacts from this Chinatown are now located in Kelley Park. At the time, an existing Japantown nearby was evacuated due to the war, but was repopulated after the internment of the Japanese-Americans.

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