In the spring of 2009, I began a project that spanned the better half of my undergraduate career: "Pittsburgh's Chinatown and It's Occupants: 1900-2009." In Contemporary US History, an Honors course I was enrolled in, we were required to complete an in-depth research project that would culminate in a written thesis and presentation. I had recently read an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the local Chinatown Inn Restaurant.
Pittsburgh's Chinatown and It's Occupants 1900-2009
By Robert Alexander Ward
Full Research Paper with Image Credits for Photographs (above)
I was intrigued and contacted the Post-Gazette journalist. In his story, he mentioned that the daughter of the current owner still lived in the area. He put me in touch with her in the hopes that she might have some information that would provide a good start to my research into the history of Pittsburgh’s long-forgotten “Chinatown.”
I met with the daughter on numerous occasions and she showed me old photos and newspaper clippings which I scanned (see below). She also gave me copies of some stories that her father had typed up before his passing in 2008. These remarkable stories provided a personal glimpse into the daily lives of the residents of Pittsburghs’s old Chinatown.
From there, I began my archival research in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Department. I discovered a number if old newspaper articles that I scanned from their microfilm archives.
My final thesis paper and presentation were very well received and my project was selected by the Head of the Honors College to present at the 2010 Northeast Regional Honors Conference (NRHC) in Harrisburg, PA.