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Chinatown Declared A Nuisance - 1879

Chinatown Declared a Nuisance!

This is the full text of a sixteen-page pamphlet, "Chinatown Declared a Nuisance!"; distributed by the Workingmen's Committee of California, it called for the abatement of Chinatown as a health menace.

The three-by-five-inch pamphlet, from the holdings of the Museum, was apparently published in mid-March 1880, during the first few months of the mayoral administration of the Rev. Isaac Kalloch, the successful Workingmen's Party candidate in the 1879 elections.

Isaac Smith Kalloch, nicknamed "Golden Voice," was born July 10, 1832, in East Thomaston, Maine. He came to San Francisco in 1875 because there were more wicked people of both sexes in San Francisco and he felt compelled by God to go and convert them.

He became the Workingmen's candidate for Mayor of San Francisco, and was shot by Charles De Young just before the election, which he won on a sympathy vote. During his administration (1879-1881), he was continually opposed by the Board of Supervisors and in 1880 there was an attempt to impeach him. He resigned as pastor of the Metropolitan Temple in July 1883, and moved to Whatcom, Washington, where he died December 9, 1887.

Jerome A. Hart, of the "Argonaut," wrote extensively of this period in his 1931 book "In Our Second Century." He detailed the power of Denis Kearney, founder of the Workingmen's Party, as well as the Rev. Kalloch. He also wrote of the attempted assassination of the Rev. Kalloch by Charles De Young of the "Chronicle," and De Young's subsequent murder at the hands of the Mayor's son.

Hart wrote:

The Workingmen split into two wings before the election of 1879, the Kearney wing being the more powerful. Then when Kearney made overtures to him to run for Mayor of San Francisco, Kalloch saw a great light, like Saul of Tarsus. In his Sunday evening "preludes" he ceased to denounce Kearney, and began supporting him. He ceased to praise the Chinese, and lifted up his voice in the Kearney slogan, "The Chinese Must Go."

One day, toward the end of the municipal campaign, De Young printed in the "Chronicle" several pages of scandalous matter concerning Kalloch's private life in the Eastern city whence the clergyman had come. On August 22, 1879, Kalloch announced that he would reply that evening at the Metropolitan Temple, and the city buzzed with excitement. I heard Kalloch's speech; it was a bitter denunciation of Charles De Young and his family. It was inexcusable--unjustifiable; but so was Charles De Young's attack. The following day (August 23, 1879) De Young drove in a carriage to the Metropolitan Temple, where Kalloch had his "study," and sent in a messenger to Kalloch, telling him that someone outside wanted to see him. It was rumored at the time that the message was "a lady wanted to see him." This was likely true, for Kalloch would probably not have come out into the street to see an unnamed man in a carriage during that bitter campaign; the "lady" message probably lulled his suspicions. When Kalloch neared the carriage De Young fired, wounding Kalloch severely. A mob gathered, from which De Young was rescued with some difficulty, and taken to jail. For several days the authorities feared trouble, and the police were on special duty awaiting a possible riot call.

The Workingmen's Party pamphlet is divided into four nominal sections:

Page 1 is the title page, undated, and lists the contents:

  • Introduction -- The "New Grant Boom" of the Republican Party.
  • Board of Health.
  • Mayor I.S. Kalloch.
  • The Workingmen's Part of California.

Page 2 is the introduction, signed by "The Committee," assumed to be the Workingmen's Party committee, that inspected Chinatown. The national Republican Party, as well as the governor of California and the legislature, are attacked for refusal to "listen to the complaints of their constituents regarding the Chinese." This page is dated March 10, 1880.

Page 3 is the resolution that condemned Chinatown as a health hazard. It is addressed to the Board of Health of the City and County of San Francisco, and detailed the committee's inspection of Chinatown, and its adoption of the condemnation resolution. Mayor Kalloch is listed as one of the members of the investigating committee.

Page 6 is Mayor Kalloch's address at the Metropolitan Temple, then located on Fifth Street between Mission and Jessie streets. Jerome A. Hart, in his chapter on "The Kearny-Kalloch Epoch," gives extensive background on the timeframe of this speech, and the underlying political situation in San Francisco. This chapter of Hart's book should be read to put Mayor Kalloch's speech in context.

Kalloch, in his undated "prelude," detailed his troubles with the Board of Supervisors and the news media, and gives his views on why he was shot by "Chronicle" publisher Charles De Young. This "prelude" is believed to also date from March 1880. The Mayor also denounced Frank Pixley,publisher of the "Argonaut," as well as Charles De Young, and gave rationale to Kalloch's view that "The Chinese must go, 'peacefully if we can, forcibly, if we must.' The Asiatic invasion must be stopped; and if trouble comes in consequence of this determination, it will not come as our opponents desire or plan."

Page 12 contains the last few paragraphs of Mayor Kalloch's speech, and begins the "Memorial on Chinatown," by an investigating committee of the Anti-Chinese Council, W.P.C., addressed to Mayor Kalloch and the Board of Health of San Francisco.

This document is an overview of the social and moral conditions in Chinatown as seen by the council. It also criticized the San Francisco Police Department and the Patrol Specials for taking bribes from Chinese merchants to "not disturb their (Chinese) mode of living."

Page 14 contains an "Itemized Report of Nuisances in Chinatown." This portion of the pamphlet is highly critical of sanitary conditions along Dupont Street, now Grant Avenue, and gives the addresses of houses of prostitution.



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