HomeChinese AmericanSt. Louis names street to honor old Chinatown

St. Louis names street to honor old Chinatown

A stretch of St. Louis will soon be officially renamed On Leong Way.

It’s a tribute to what used to be the city’s Chinatown.

The city alderman voted 15 to nothing to unanimously pass the measure Friday. It now goes to Mayor Tishaura Jones for his signature, KSDK reports.

According to Next St. Louis, the city destroyed Chinatown for a surface parking lot in the mid-1960’s. Chinatown existed for nearly 100 years from 1869 to 1966.

It ran roughly from Market to the North, 8th Street to the West and Walnut to the South. The name On Leong roughly translates to peace and good. A sign seen in an old 1960s photo atop a building proclaims the On Leong Merchants Association. The labor and merchants association provided a safe space for Chinese immigrants and was said to have originated in San Francisco.

8th & Market used to be part of St. Louis' Chinatown
This intersection is being renamed to honor what used to be St. Louis Chinatown. Google Streetview photo

“I’m hoping that with this effort, we can not only educate our policymakers but provide some signage and really some historical markers that can educate the general public on what was here,” Alderwoman Cara Spencer said. “And to help imagine that history.”

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  1. I guess they don’t know that On Leong was a mighty tong in the Midwest and in the 1920s headed the tong wars. Corruption and bribery and murders in daylight. Not a good choice for a street name.


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