A handful of Chinese markets dot Tucson’s urban landscape, their glowing neon signs a marker of cultural tradition. Join with Tucson Modernism Week and the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center to explore the history and development of Tucson Chinese community and visit some of Tucson’s iconic mid-century markets.
The Chinese community helped usher the modern age into Southwest. Chin Tin Wo opened the first recorded Chinese-owned mercantile in 1879. Chinese arrivals began to farm on the banks of the Santa Cruz River and to bring fresh produce into town in wagons. Some slowly began to open small grocery stores. When Chin Tim Wo returned to China, he passed his business to his nephew, Don Chun Wo. In the early 1900s, the Gin family opened what later became the Anita Street Market and by 1912, Lee Goon opened the Lee Hop Market. By the 1920s Chinese markets were flourishing in all the neighborhoods of the small town of Tucson and by the 1940s they were numerous, sometimes even across the street from each other. The families lived on the premises and became an integral part of the neighborhood. Everyone knew their Chinese grocery, who catered to customers’ preferred foods and often gave credit. The buildings were often built in progressive popular architectural styles that were both distinctively American and served as an advertisement and landmark within the local community.
After World War II, the ubiquitous markets slowly begin to decline in numbers. Even then they survived in small barrio locations into the 1970s. The families who ran these stores became the core of Tucson’s Chinese community, they became the Chinese cotton farmers of Marana and the source of many of the Chinese American professionals in Tucson today.
Join us in a tour of a few of the significant former (and current) grocery store sites that reflect this important part of Tucson’s history. Docents from the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center will provide insights into the history and significance of the contributions of these buildings to Tucson’s landscape.
The bus tour will last 3 hours and will require some walking.
This tour is not included with the VIP pass.
|Tour: Tucson’s Chinese Markets – 现代作风||$35|