Chinatown: Hang Far Low

Postcards on this page show the west side of Grant between Sacramento and Commercial, including Hang Far Low restaurant at 723/725 Grant. 1878 Langley lists "Hang Fer Low & Co., restaurant, 713 Dupont", and 1887 Sanborn shows Hang Far Low at the same location. It was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake/fire and then rebuilt on the same parcel (but with updated street address). Judy Yung's San Francisco's Chinatown (Arcadia, 2016, revised ed., pp. 17-18) shows pre-quake and post-quake Hang Far Low photos. Charles Caldwell Dobie's San Francisco's Chinatown (Appleton-Century, 1936) includes an E.H. Suydam drawing of the interior of Hang Far Low. All the cards below are post-quake.

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These Pacific Novelty cards all use the same image. Almost all Grant postcards look north, but this one looks south. The upper sign now reads "Hang Far Low" and the "Chop Suey" sign remains. The image must date from between 1908 (Sing Chong completion) and 1914 (postmark). The building just past Hang Far Low is Nanking Fook Woh. The image also appears on a signed print by illustrator C.C. Beall (1892-1967).

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Many online sources incorrectly state that the dragon-ornamented streetlamps on Grant were installed for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition; no streetlamp in the earlier Pacific Novelty cards, but the Pacific Stationery card shows a streetlamp in front of Hang Far Low by 1929, it's still there in the later cards and remains there in 2020.

The last city directory listing for Hang Far Low is in the 1958 Polk's. At the site in 2020 a different vertical sign advertises the later Four Seas restaurant, but the Four Seas is gone too. The Hang Far Low venue is now (in 2020) Mr. Jiu's (entrance at 28 Waverly Place, not from Grant). The distinctive decorative supports for the balconies/fire escape remain, garishly painted.

Not shown: Scenic View 4, Scenic View 5.

Steve's SF postcard pages: