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Center of the Original Chinatown


On January 26th, 1886, Redding's caucasian citizens held
a large meeting at George's Hall, and a decision was made that all Chinese must leave the town. A "League of Forty" was appointed to carry out the task of making sure the Chinese left peacefully but quickly. Proprietors of wash houses and house cooks were allowed to remain five days, but all others had to leave on Sunday (two days from when the meeting was held).


On Sunday approximately 150 Chinese packed their bags and left town. Many of the buildings once occupied by Chinese were burned to the ground in spite of white guards who were placed in the area to protect the premises from looting. The few Chinese who remained in town quickly left in fear of their lives. The following day the local newspaper reported "There has ben no excitement, drinking or carousing over the expulsion. The citizens pursue their daily rounds as usual."


A year later the United States government paid $8,000 to the Chinese Consul as reimbursement for the losses of those Chinese who were compelled to leave. Nonethelss, for at least the next twenty-five years, Redding refused to allow any Chinese to live within the city limits.


In early December 1905, The Southern Pacific Railroad Company hired about 40 Chinese workers to lay a branch of their rail line in a sawmill near Redding. The San Francisco Call newspaper reported "A mob of boys visited the [railroad] cars last night and made such a demonstration that to-day the Chinese were afraid to resume work and have concluded to obey the order to leave town. The railroad foremen have endeavored to make peace and hold the Chinese, but the edict has gone forth, and the Asiatics will depart before dawn Thursday. If they remain serious trouble is feared."

Sources: Pfaelzer, Sandmeyer, local newspapers


About this site: An 1885 map of Redding shows a substantial group of Chinese businesses and homes along Shasta Street between Market and California. This same area today is occupied by two large businesses with sold walls facing Shasta Street.

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