Welcome to Detroit Chinatown
The story of Detroit’s Chinese residents and their neighborhoods we call “Chinatowns” does not begin at Cass and Peterboro; instead, the history of Chinese Americans in Detroit extends as far back as the late 18th century when the first Chinese merchants landed in the ports of New York and Honolulu, and wealthy American entrepreneurs ventured across the Pacific Ocean to Canton, China to establish trade routes. Throughout the early 1800s, Chinese from the Toisan region in what is now known as Guangdong Province in Southern China traveled to the United States to trade goods and seek work. In Hawaii, early Chinese settlers labored on sugar plantations. In California, gold mines and textile mills profited from Chinese travail. In the “unsettled” West, the Chinese also contributed greatly to the development of the economy by constructing roads and reservoirs. By 1890, after aiding in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Chinese lived in every state and territory.