Farwell’s Map of Chinatown in San Francisco (1885)

Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco

Farwell's Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco (1885)
Farwell's Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco (1885) image detail
Date: 1885
Author: Willard B. Farwell
Dwnld: Full Size (4.34mb)
Source: Rumsey Map Collection
Print Availability:
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This map isn't part of any series, but we have other maps of San Francisco that you might want to check out.

This map of (perceived) vice in San Francisco's Chinatown [gmap] is a fascinating historical document, as well as a rather cringe-inducing reminder of how overt the racial prejudice of the late 19th century was.

This map is, stylistically, almost identical to the common fire insurance maps of the era, where different types fire hazards are color-coded. It has an almost identical feel; except this color coding suggests a different type of perceived danger -- that being every moral-panic "yellow peril" trope that the mapmaker could dream up.

Legend:
        CREAM: "General Chinese Occupancy"
        SALMON: "Chinese Gambling Houses"
        GREEN: "Chinese Prostitution"
        YELLOW: "Chinese Opium Resorts"
        RED: "Chinese Joss Houses"
        BLUE: "White Prostitution"

For more map resources and imagery from this period in San Francisco's history, check out the California Historical Society's website.



Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco wide thumbnail image