A Chinese laundry in Prescott, AZ.

       An overview of the history of Chinese in America starting from the mid 1800s helps show how discrimination against Chinese immigrants required them to turn to self-employment in businesses such as laundries as their primary form of  economic activity from the late 19th century until well into the 20th century.

The links below tell stories of some historic Chinese laundries and the immigrants who ran them across the U. S. and Canada over the past century and a half.

Links To A  Sample of Chinese Laundries

Healdsburg, California
Hastings, Nebraska

New York City A union of Chinese laundry workers against discriminatory policies favoring  white-owned laundries.

Baltimore, Maryland  laundry map

St. Louis, Missouri 

Two brothers, Gee Hong and Gee One, operated the Sam Wah Laundry for 64 years between 1922 and 1986bafter acquiring it from their uncle who started it in 1915.  It was closed  during the urban renewal in St. Louis that replaced China Alley.

Dallas, Texas (1873-1940)  An analysis by Stan Solamillo of the growth and decline of Chinese laundries in the Dallas area from 1873-1940 using probate records, city directories, census data, and newspaper articles.

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