Chinatown: Bulletin Board

The cards on this page show bulletin boards (poster walls) in post-quake Chinatown. Wall poster use diminished as local Chinese language print media expanded in the decade following the quake, so Chinatown poster walls were largely gone by the 1920s.

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These three cards obviously use the same post-quake image, looking NE toward the NW corner of Grant/Clay. The bulletin board is on the Clay St. side of 801 Grant (built 1907).

801 Grant and the building across the street at 800 Grant (NE corner Grant/Clay, built 1906) both remain in 2020, and their details match the postcards. Just as the lightpole passes through the awning in the Mitchell card, a lightpole at the corner passes through the awning now, though the pole is a few feet from the old location (then on Clay, now on Grant). The fire hydrant has not moved.

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These cards show the same poster wall from a different angle, looking NW from Grant, with Tie Yick Lung Kee Co. at 757 Grant (SW corner Grant/Clay). The same image appears on a b+w Bear Photo RPPC. Judy Yung's San Francisco's Chinatown (rev. ed., Arcadia 2016, p. 20) credits this photo to Laura Adams Armer. The photo probably dates from ca. 1907-1910; it's certainly post-quake, not from 1900 as dated by Yung.

Anthony W. Lee's Picturing Chinatown (Univ. of California Press, 2001) includes a Louis Stellman photo (4.20) of the same poster wall, dated ca. 1913-1915. It also includes several Armer images (3.20-3.22) of a poster wall on a different building, dated ca. 1900.

Not shown: later (linen era) Piltz 77 (examples date from 1930 through 1950).

Steve's SF postcard pages: