Map: Detroit’s Original Chinatown

Parking lots. As is the Detroit and Downtown way, much of the city’s cultural heritage was razed for car infrastructure – be it freeways or parking lots.

The discussion of Chinatown in Detroit is usually limited to the decorative marker at Cass and Peterboro that disappeared and then a new one was installed reminding us that Chinatown once existed. However, the Chinatown we think we know was a failed attempt at relocation after the original Chinatown was condemned and demolished for the Lodge Freeway project.

I had always heard or been told that the original Chinatown was at the intersection of Third and Michigan Ave and/or the site of the MGM Grand Casino. After some digging into the photo archives at the Reuther Library and combing through Sanborn Digital Maps, I was able to locate the original locations of the Chinese Cultural Building and the famed Chung’s Chop Suey.

There should, in the least, be a historic marker on the lawn of the Detroit Public Safety HQ to mark Detroit’s original Chinatown.

2 thoughts on “Map: Detroit’s Original Chinatown

  1. Hi, Alex. Thanks for posting this. My family owned Chung’s. I am interested in talking with anyone who has an interest in this area, including Dr. Ryzewski. I recently sold my memoir, “Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant.” It’s about growing up in the Chinatown on Cass and Peterboro. It will be published by Little, Brown in Fall 2023. I can be found at curtisfromdetroit.com

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