Mapping Chinese-Owned Laundries and Restaurants in Baltimore
Using the Baltimore City Directory, Jennifer Jahromi (class of 2000) collected data on the locations of Chinese
owned restaurants and laundries in Baltimore between 1880 and 1960. She found a noticeable increase in laundries
in 1900 (from 99 in 1880 to 246 in 1900) followed by a steady decline in Chinese-owned laundries through the 1940s,
and a sharp decline between the 1950s and 1960 when only 53 laundries were listed. Conversely, she found no Chinese-owned
restaurants until 1900 when one appeared in the Directory. Between 1930 and 1960, there were 40 to 50 Chinese-owned
restaurants listed in the Directory.
There appear to be two areas in Baltimore with high concentrations of Chinese-owned businesses, the traditional
Chinatown area (around Park and Mulberry Streets) and Pennsylvania Avenue. Ms. Jahromi speculates that these two
business areas may have serviced different clientele. The traditional Chinatown area servicing white customers
and the Pennsylvania Avenue businesses serving black customers.
Here are two of the many maps from this project:
Chinese Laundries 1880s
All Chinese Laundries & Restaurants 1880s-1960s