Home Research Research: before 1900 1874: The First Chinese-Owned Business in Chicago

1874: The First Chinese-Owned Business in Chicago

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The Lakeside Annual Directory for 1874-5 contains this advertisement:

Chinaman's Tea House.  Kwang Lee and Ah Hen Jackson, Proprietors.  Dealers in all kinds of Teas, Coffees and Spices, 35 West Madison Street.

We believe this to have been the first Chinese-owned business in the city and perhaps in Illinois.  We would love to know who Kwang Lee and Ah Hen Jackson were.  Chicago had many other tea and coffee dealers at that time. Although these other dealers' shops often had Chinese names, the dealers themselves all were European-Americans.

Research & writing by Ben Bronson and Chuimei Ho; copyright 2004-2006 by the Chinatown Museum Foundation.
 
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