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Strolling down memory lane with The Wall Breakers in tow: Gorgeous Photos of San Francisco in the 1950s (link below) reminded me of when I lived in San Francisco. On my Metropolitan Life post a couple of years ago, I mentioned living on Sacramento Street.

To continue, I took the bus to work from the Clay and Leavenworth bus stop (the next block over) down to Montgomery passing through Chinatown. My first job was at Bank of the Orient.

Grant Street, Getty Images via The Wall Breakers

Grant Street, Getty Images via The Wall Breakers

It was a nice walk down the hill (not so much up) from my apartment (with two roommates) and if I didn’t have anything to do on a weekend afternoon, I’d sometimes go people-watching in Chinatown. Stockton Street was like visiting a foreign country. I was always amused by whole chickens or ducks hanging by their feet in the butcher stores. Grant Street was for tourists. 

The “steady pace of ancient tradition and the lightening-quick glitz” of the 1950s was sort of the same feeling I had about Chinatown in the late 1970s early 1980s.  

Chinese New Year parade on Stockton Street, Getty Images via The Wall Breakers

Chinese New Year parade on Stockton Street, Getty Images via The Wall Breakers

I was thinking about a dim sum restaurant I went to, I think on a lunch date, and all of a sudden I thought about the Golden Dragon Massacre. I had just moved to San Francisco and was staying with my older sister, her husband and their new baby in a Haight-Ashbury flat. I was in the city for three days and then on Sept 4, 1977…

At 2:40 AM a longstanding feud between two rival Chinatown gangs, the Joe Boys and Wah Ching came to head when a failed assassination attempt by the Joe Boys at the Golden Dragon led to the deaths of five people, including two tourists, and injury to 11 people, none of whom were gang members. The assassination attempt was retaliation for the death of Joe Boy Felix Huey, who was killed in a shootout with Wah Ching members at the Ping Yuen housing projects earlier that year.

The Golden Dragon Massacre led to the establishment of the San Francisco Police Department’s Asian Gang Task Force. 

At first it was creepy to walk by the restaurant which was in walking distance from the Bank of the Orient. And I probably just ruined this post of Gorgeous Photos (spectacular black and whites) with a grizzly essay on the massacre (see below) so I’ll just say I did go to a Chinese New Year parade several years later which was more extravagant than the parade shown above. 

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Golden Dragon Restaurant (date unknown) 816 Washington Street, via FoundSF.org

Golden Dragon Restaurant (date unknown) 816 Washington Street, via FoundSF.org

The Golden Dragon Restaurant Massacre

Historical Essay by Kevin J. Mullen

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