Early Morning on Waverly Place
Waverly Place in Chinatown has a colorful history. Originally the lane was named Pike Street and in 1875 it was the site of the most notorious and deadly gang fight in San Francisco history. Fifty men from two rival tongs battled here with with hatchets and meat cleavers. The street was also known for its numerous gambling dens and bordellos, including a pair owned by San Francisco's most notorious madams, Ah Toy and Belle Cora.

In 1905 San Francisco Police discovered a long tunnel under the Old Tie Loy Lottery Company building located here. Police Commissioner Jesse B. Cook described the tunnel as divided into fourteen rooms, each with its own door. This led to stories of a secret network of underground tunnels below Chinatown, a rumor that still lives on today. After the earthquake and fire of 1906 the street was rebuilt and renamed Waverly Place.

Dashiell Hammett's novel, 'Dead Yellow Women' was set here and a character in Amy Tan's 'Joy Luck Club' was named Waverly after the street. In Chinese, Waverly Place is known as Tien Hau Mui Gai after the Tien Hau Temple which is is one of three temples located here. Today Waverly Place is also known as the 'Street of Painted Balconies' after the brightly-colored architectural features that soar high above the street.
[ MAP F-15 ]


Blogger AphotoAday said...

Good god man, that has to be one of your finest photos so far... Reminds me something W. Eugene Smith might have done... Fabulous...

7:46 AM  
Blogger rudyfan said...

Great photo!

This is one of my favorite little streets in SF. Up the street and around the corner is the Willie "Woo Woo" Wong Playground. Chinatown is filled with lore and endless fascination for me, more so thanks to your wonderful photos!

7:59 AM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Ditto on the photograph. Wow.

11:56 AM  
Blogger dutchbaby said...

Beautiful, timeless photo with great narration to match.

4:41 PM  

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