Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


It's Chinatown, Jake

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

The MTA has bumped into a gravesite of Chinese immigrants in construction of the Gold Line in Boyle Heights. It dates back to the late 1800s, when the Chinese in California had no rights — they were even charged to be buried in their own Potter's Field, while poor whites were buried for free.

This isn't the first time relics of Chinese history have been unearthed by the MTA. When subway and light rail construction began at Union Station in the late 1980s, a trove of the stuff of daily life of old Chinatown was found. Union Station's 1930s construction had meant displacing Chinatown, and some people didn't move quickly enough; archeologists were called in and catalogued 1,034 finds. The rice bowl in the photo is from that collection at USC; now rice bowls, burial bricks and opium pipes have been found with the 108 skeletons in Boyle Heights.