Chinese-American objects from excavations in lakefront landfill in Chicago, 1910-1915

These objects were found by archaeologist Scott Demel in 2002 during excavations in fill next to the foundations of the Field Museum, which was built in 1916-1917.

The sugar bowl, made for the then-fashionable King Joy Lo restaurant (57 W Randolph St., before 1911 until after 1915), is one of the earliest surviving objects from a Chinese restaurant in the Midwest. The bird feeder is the kind used by Chinese, not Western, bird lovers and almost certainly belonged to a Chinese-American resident of Chicago. The “fu” character was on an object — perhaps a lid — that has rusted completely away. Photos by Ben Bronson, courtesy of Scott Demel.