Down by the Station: Los Angeles Chinatown, 1880-1933


Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 18
ISBN: 978-0-917956-87-4
Publication Date: Jun 1996
  • Open Access: PDF

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Roberta S. Greenwood

“… a fascinating glimpse of a vital part of America’s heritage”
  — Mark Michel, American Archaeology, Winter 1997-98

In 1933, the demolition of the thriving Los Angeles Chinatown for the construction of Union Station sealed the remains of this intact community 14 feet below the railroad tracks. The planning and construction of the MetroDown by the Station Rail subway system five decades later included efforts to preserve and protect cultural resources in the area, detailed in this volume. The assemblage of excavated material objects Down by the Station reflects the import, preparation, and service of food; recreation; health practices; the presence of women and children, rubbish disposal practices; and degree of participation in local social networks. The unprecedented numbers and densities of artifacts illuminate aspects of lifeways not previously recorded, revealing a rich picture of people and life in nineteenth and early twentieth century Los Angeles. Intensive historical research, oral history, and laboratory Down by the Station analyses have been synthesized into a comprehensive reconstruction of a community that was isolated socially, economically, and geographically.

Recipient of the Jo Anne Stolaroff Cotsen Prize

Table of Contents
  • Ch. 1: Introduction
  • Ch. 2: Historical Background by Lynn C. Kronzek and Roberta S. Greenwood
  • Ch. 3: The Archaeology of Chinatown
  • Ch. 4: Ceramics
  • Ch. 5: The Individual, with a contribution by Margie Akin
  • Ch. 6: Health and Hygiene
  • Ch. 7: The Household
  • Ch. 8: Subsistence, with a contribution by Mark A. Roeder
  • Ch. 9: Conclusions
  • Appendix A: Inscribed and Decorated Objects by Lothar von Falkenhausen and Roberta S. Greenwood
  • Appendix B: Marks on Ceramics
  • Appendix C: Marks on Glass
  • Appendix D: Notes on the Calligraphy Displayed in a Physician's Office by Lothar von Falkenhausen and Ronald C. Egan