Chinatown Scavenger Hunt

To prepare for your Chinatown scavenger hunt:

  • Briefly scan through the Boston section (page 1494 on) of the International Chinese Business Directory of 1913.
  • What types of businesses do you see listed? What types of business names?
  • Then visit Chinatown and observe with your own eyes!
  • What parts of historic Chinatown exist today? What has disappeared?


  • Use the provided checklist (see below) and find each listed located (or the location where a business used to be). In cases where the site no longer exists, note in the check list what survives.
  • Find something that interests you. Collect an item (for example, a menu, flyer, or commemorative penny[!]), or take a photograph (a written description or drawing is also fine).
  • Select one “free choice” items that is listed at the bottom of check list. Please write a one sentence description of what it is.
  • You may go in a group and discuss your findings. However, each student must submit an original write-up.
  • Feel free to enter public buildings or businesses, but no interior photography please. You may ask people for directions, but no “interviewing” of residents, please. Out of respect for the community.

Submission Instructions

Copy the list below. Check off each item as you find it. For “free choice” items at the bottom of the list, please write a one sentence description. Upload as a PDF.

List for Chinatown Scavenger Hunt

Find the following sites and buildings (or evidence of the old buildings if they no longer exist in the location):

Ping On Alley Off Beach St. Est. 1870s, earliest Chinese settlement  
Shanghai Printing Co. 16 Oxford St. Chinese and English language printer  
Sun Sun Co. 18 Oxford St. Chinese grocery store  
Hong Far Low 36-38 Harrison Ave. Est. 1875, first Chinese restaurant  
International Ladies Garment Workers Union 31 Harrison Ave. In 1936, female garment workers went on 2 month strike  
New England Chinese Women’s Association 2 Tyler St. Est. 1942 for China relief, networking and social service organization.  
Old Community bulletin board Oxford Street / Beach St. Est. 1890s for posting news, events, and jobs openings  
Yee Wah Laundry 59 BeachSt. Chinese hand laundry  
Wong Family Benevolent Association 70 Beach St. Gathering space for members of Wong family  
Lee Family Association 10 Tyler St. Gathering space for members of Lee family (cont.)  
Ruby Foo’s Den 6 Hudson St. Est. 1929, first Chinese restaurant catering to non-Chinese  
Hip Yeng Chong Co. 49 Hudson St. Chinese import / export store  
Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic 79 Tyler St. Est. 1911, members known for their professional service in China  
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association 90 Tyler St. Est. 1882, regulates local business and represents Chinese  
Denison House 93 Tyler St. Est. 1892, work training organization for immigrant women  
Home of Rose Lok Next to Denison House, Oak Street side Born 1912, first Chinese American woman to pilot solo  

Free Choice List

Pick one and take notes. What do you think it is? What purpose it served in the community?

  • Community mural
  • Chinese laundry or dry cleaner
  • Chinese herbal medicine shop
  • Chinese grocery market
  • Evidence of traditional Chinese popular religiouspractices(analtar for example)
  • Something indicative of New Migration
  • What else can you find?

Bonus: can anyone find the site of the old communal oven?

While you are more than welcome to talk to people if you are lost or wish to purchase something, please refrain from “interviewing” people or asking them about personal experiences. Our class is not authorized for human subject research. Out of respect for the community, no interior photography please.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2013
Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments
Written Assignments