February 2018 Meeting – The Last Remnants of Anaheim’s Chinatown

Uncover the story of Anaheim’s Chinatown with archaeologist Ivan Strudwick at the Orange County Historical Society’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, 7:30p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Orange County’s largest “China Town” was established in the early 1870s near the center of the vineyard colony of Anaheim. From the mid-1850s to the 1880s, one of every ten California residents was Chinese. When Anaheim incorporated in 1876, about a sixth of the city’s population was Chinese. And by 1890, 75% of California’s agricultural workforce was Chinese.

“Many Chinese engaged in truck farming northeast of Anaheim and their vegetable wagons were a familiar sight,” wrote Anaheim historian Leo Friis. “Actually, Anaheim was a good place for Chinese to live. Its citizens never carried to extremes the prejudice found in many other towns.”

Anaheim’s Chinatown is depicted on 1907 and 1911 Sanborn maps near the center of the original colony, just west of the modern intersection of Anaheim Blvd. and Lincoln Ave. In 1924, this small community was demolished, ostensibly for health concerns, and the last building was torn down in 1940.

Last Building in Chinatown, demolished 1940

Our speaker, Ivan H. Strudwick, was born and raised in southern California. He attended California State University, Long Beach, where he obtained both his bachelor and master’s degrees in anthropology, specializing in archaeology. During a professional archaeological career spanning four decades, Mr. Strudwick conducted and managed all phases of archaeological and historic projects, including survey and excavation, laboratory analysis, research, and report writing conducted in more than twenty California counties and on three of California’s Channel Islands. Mr. Strudwick was the field director and primary report author for the first cultural resource management project ever awarded for San Clemente Island. He has also worked as Native American coordinator for large multi-year projects and has numerous professional publications. For the past twenty five years, Mr. Strudwick has been employed as a professional archaeologist at LSA in Irvine.

At OCHS’ February meeting, Strudwick will discuss Anaheim’s Chinatown and some of the artifacts that were found when this historic area was recently graded for development.