Sing Chong Building, San Francisco

Sing Chong Building, San Francisco

After the devastating earthquake of 1906, San Francisco's city government smelled the opportunity to drive Chinatown to the fringes, planning to resettle the community to what is now the Bayview neighborhood. But the Chinese Family Associations and the Chinese Consulate refused to budge.

A group of Chinese merchants, including Mendocino-born Look Tin Eli, seized on the idea of hiring American (non-Chinese) architects and contractors to design and rebuild the neighborhood in Chinese-motif "Oriental" style. The plan was to increase the area's appeal as a tourist destination and cultural stronghold.

The result of that design strategy was the pagoda-topped buildings of the Sing Chong and Sing Fat bazaars. These were among the first "new Chinatown" to open and have since become landmark sites. Inspired by Sing Chong's standout look, many other buildings in the area began featuring similar architectural elements. One such was the Bank of America building at 701 Grant Avenue, first occupied by the Nanking Fook Wo Inc., which got decorated in traditional dragon motifs.

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Sing Chong Building on Map

Sight Name: Sing Chong Building
Sight Location: San Francisco, USA (See walking tours in San Francisco)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Francisco, California

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