Back to Chinatown

In the first Chinatown post, I showed you the Nine Dragon Wall, the first ‘welcome’ to this fascinating Chicago neighborhood. Just beyond the wall is this lovely pagoda, the second ‘welcome’, as it were.

Magnificently constructed, the pagoda was still decorated with greens for the holidays.

Magnificently constructed, the pagoda was still decorated with greens for the holidays.

Here’s a closer look at the roof of this fine structure:


As I understand, the glazed terra cotta tiles for this pagoda and the Nine Dragon Wall were made in China…obviously by excellent craftsmen, because the detail is amazing!

Directly across Cermak Road is the Chinatown Gate–the third ‘welcome’–designed by architect Peter Fung, and erected in 1975.

The Chinese characters are hand-painted tiles, declaring, "The world belongs to the commonwealth"...pretty provocative, isn't it?

The Chinese characters are hand-painted tiles, declaring, “The world belongs to the commonwealth”…pretty provocative, isn’t it?

The building on the right, with the twin pagodas I showed you previously, is the Pui Tak Building, designed by Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad in 1928 for the On Leong Merchants Association.  In 1993, it was purchased and renovated/restored by the Chinese Christian Union Church.

After you enter the Gate, you are bombarded with signs like these, in both Chinese and English.

Chinatown Signs-1

Chinatown Signs-2

Chinatown Signs-3

Chinatown Signs-4

There’s even one of these, located in the alleyway just before the Pui Tak Building:

Chinatown Signs-5

More, much more on Chinatown tomorrow!

8 responses to “Back to Chinatown

  1. Mi amiga, your images here remind me of Chinatown in Manila, where I used to stroll on my way to engineering school during my college days. Chinatown was the center of commerce in the 18th century, when early Chinese settled, making the place the business hub, then.

    • This Chinatown here is touristy, mi amigo…yet also full of wondrous Chinese markets…and more Chinese people than I’ve ever seen! The tourists come for the trinkets and the excellent food…I go to see and understand more of this ancient people’s traditions.

      I’m happy to bring back a good memory of your younger days, caro Chito!

  2. Beautiful photos. The pagoda is magnificent and I’d love to visit that Star Light Market! And, to complete the day, dinner in the May Flower Restaurant. I wonder how many Chinatowns there are around the world?

    • I’m sure every large city that’s not in China has one…the Chinese seem to leave their ‘homeland’ very often. I find them to be a wonderful group of people…though they do have their gangs, too!

  3. Funny how we can be half a world away but some things are the same. Our Chinatown is different in that it is very small and down a laneway, a big laneway, but the signs and the decorations are very much the same as what is in ours.

    • It got me to thinking, Leanne, and wondering just why so many Chinese have left their homeland…I guess it’s the Communism, and their desire to be free of those restrictions. I’m certainly glad, though, how they’ve introduced their culture all across the world. The few I met and conversed with during this short tour were extremely fine human beings…can’t wait to go back, but hoping for some warmer weather for shooting (even if it rains a bit…that would give some great reflection shots)!

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