Chinatown & California Statehood

Santa Barbara, like many California cities, once had a Chinatown. Beginning in the 1850s, Chinese immigrants began arriving in Santa Barbara with a twofold purpose: to flee the war-stricken provinces of China’s Manchu Dynasty and to seek out work. In Santa Barbara, Chinese Americans made a living as farmers, merchants, fishermen, and construction laborers. Interior to their community, they established businesses, schools, places of worship, rooming houses, and community centers along the first two blocks of Canon Perdido. By 1900, there were hundreds of Chinese people living in Santa Barbara, making up 10% of the city’s population.