11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Little Manila

Year Listed: 2003
Location: Stockton , California
Threat: Development, Poor Public Policy, Road Construction

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The last of Little Manila

Credit: Little Manila Foundation

Significance

Pushed by poverty and pulled by the lure of agricultural jobs, tens of thousands of Filipinos migrated to the United States and settled in California's San Joaquin Valley in the early 20th century. By 1946, Stockton became home to the largest Filipino community in the U.S., and a compact area of downtown known as Little Manila was alive with restaurants, stores, labor unions, and social organizations that provided services and a sense of community to immigrants isolated by intense segregation. In the 1950s and 1960s, city redevelopment and interstate highway construction devastated the physical and social fabric of Little Manila. Although preservation advocates spurred the City of Stockton to declare Little Manila a local Historic Site in 2000, by that time only three original buildings: the Mariposa Hotel, the Rizal Social Club, and the Filipino Recreation Center, and a strong sense of memory and ownership among the local Filipino community remained.