St. Louis, MO (KPLR)— The first Chinese came to America to build the trans continental railroad. Once it was finished they were left to fend for themselves. The immigrants spread across the country looking for work.
In St. Louis they found by starting their own neighborhood where the ballpark stands today.
"Imagine that was once the center-point for what was called "hop alley" which was the center of the Chinese area. It is the neighborhood in St. Louis where Chinese operated. They really did what every other immigrant group tried to do. They tried to find a way to succeed and make a living and survive in the new world and new culture"" said Dr. Robert Archibald
Unlike European immigrants the Chinese were easily recognized as foreigners. They were often treated poorly and their families were denied entry under into the country under Chinese exclusion laws.
Today a section of University City on Olive street just East of 170 is considered St. Louis' new Chinatown. But it is mostly Chinese stores and restaurants and not residents.