America’s Oldest Chinese Laundry Closes After 140 Years
If you grew up watching old westerns, it seems every town in the old west had a Chinese laundry. They had the market cornered in the late 1800's & early 1900's. Chinese immigrants faced a lot of adversity in the late 19th century. There was a lot of prejudice, and discrimination. it was even supported by the government. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the only law in US history to restrict immigration based on ethnicity. They couldn't find work in other industries, so many went into the laundry business. There was a booming market with the westward migration of unmarried males. NBC News reports, Ching Lee Laundry, the oldest Chinese laundry in the US, has just closed its doors. Three generations of the Yee family have owned the business. It's located in San Matteo, California. San Matteo's population is now 20% Chinese. Long time customers brought cards, cookies, and some wept. A far cry from the days of the "old west."