Cleveland, Ohio's Chinatown
Cleveland, Ohio's Chinatown is an ethnic neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Chinatown was established in the late nineteenth century.
A majority of Chinese Ohioans lived in northeastern Ohio, where they worked in factories or established their own businesses to provide their fellow Chinese Americans with traditional Chinese products. For most of the second half of the nineteenth century, Cleveland, which had the largest Chinese-American population in Ohio, boasted fewer than one hundred Chinese residents. By World War II, the city's Chinese population increased to almost nine hundred. With the communist takeover of China in the late 1940s, an increase in Chinese immigration occurred to the United States, including to Ohio. Most of these new migrants came from Hong Kong or Taiwan, areas that escaped communism but their residents still feared the ideology's expansion. At the start of the twenty-first century, a small number of Chinese people continued to come to Ohio each year. By 1980, six thousand Cleveland residents claimed Chinese ancestry.
The first Chinese people to come to Cleveland arrived in the mid nineteenth century. They settled along Ontario Street, where they established Chinatown. For most of its history, Cleveland's Chinatown consisted of only one city block and contained several Chinese restaurants, laundries, and specialty stores. Initially, most Chinese in Cleveland lived in Chinatown to surround themselves with people of similar cultural beliefs and also to escape the animosity of Cleveland's other residents. Over time, especially by the 1960s, many Chinese Clevelanders began to move into new neighborhoods, as Cleveland's other residents became more tolerant of the Chinese.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.