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WHERE IS IT?

Wednesday Where Is It
updated: Aug 10, 2011, 7:04 AM

By Ventura Edhat staff

The answer to this week's Where Is It Wednesday is the Chinese Treasure Box that decorates the corner of Main and Figueroa. Created by Ventura artist, Stefan Verstappen, the treasure box pays homage to the approximately 200 Chinese immigrants that lived along Figueroa Street from 1866 through 1923. The box is a symbol of what a Chinese family might carry to America to hold all their hopes and dreams and a Feng Shui marker of wealth and prosperity for Ventura’s downtown historic area.

While the area between Main and Santa Clara was dubbed China Alley, the residents named their village Sam Fong Yi. The neighborhood comprised of wooden structures that made up homes, shops, businesses and its own fire station. The immigrants living along Figueroa were mostly farm laborers who worked the surrounding farm lands but were also teachers, doctors and merchants. By 1923, national immigration laws and local anti-chinese sentiment forced the closure of China Alley but Ventura’s history would not be complete without the contribution of these Chinese immigrants.

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