While traveling in Northern California back in August of this year, some of the most interesting places we visited were related to Chinese-American history. These included an 1863 Chinese Temple in Oroville and the Chinese-American Historical Society Museum in San Francisco (see photos below).
One of my favorite architectural design features anywhere are the artistic gates (paifang, also called pailou) constructed at the entrance to many Chinatowns in North and Central America, as well as other locations around the planet. They serve as a delightful welcome to a rich culture and vibrant community.
Below are photos of the 26 Chinatown gates in North and Central America. Boston, San Francisco, and Sacramento are photos that I have taken, while those elsewhere on the continent have been tracked down via the web. While I have seen the gate to Chicago’s Chinatown, I have not had a chance to photograph it to date.
My personal favorite is the gate in Boston. Other favorites include Chicago, Los Angeles East, Portland, Toronto East, Victoria, and the lovely new gate in San Jose, Costa Rica. Cities where I am surprised there are no Chinatown gates currently include Calgary, Detroit, San Jose, CA, Oakland, Long Beach, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Miami.
Next time you are traveling across North or Central America, check out some of these Chinatown gates. The paifang (gates) are spectacular works of art, architectural design, and craftsmanship and should be treasured by both residents and visitors alike. Enjoy!