Curious Louis: The future of St. Louis’ ‘unofficial’ Chinatown

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St. Louis once had a thriving hub for Chinese immigrants moving to the city. Historical records show in 1894 there were about 1,000 people of Chinese heritage living in St. Louis, many of whom had moved to the region from California in the middle part of the century.

A St. Louis Public Radio listener wanted to know how so many Chinese businesses came to exist at Olive Boulevard near Interstate 170 in University City. The listener also wanted to know why hasn’t there been more expansion of Asian businesses there.

Many of the first Chinese residents in St. Louis lived in the area where Busch Stadium is today, owning and operating restaurants, grocery stores and laundries. Residents also opened schools and founded Chinese associations, notably the On Leong Merchants Association. The area was commonly known locally as “Hop Alley.” Check out the full story

By Ashley Lisenby, St. Louis Public Radio


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