Historic Chinese laundry in California shuts after 140 years

A 140-year-old Chinese-owned laundry has closed its doors south of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports ( ) Monday that Ching Lee Laundry in San Mateo was the oldest Chinese-owned laundry in the country. It was founded in 1876 by the five Yee brothers who made trips by horse-drawn carriage for laundry pick-ups in San Francisco. They were among the first immigrants to San Mateo, then a town of less than 1,000, the newspaper reported.

Its owners, Jack and Evelyn Yee, are both 87 and Jack is in poor health. That and declining business forced the pair to close their doors.

It was not uncommon for Chinese immigrants to California to work in laundries as it was one of the few jobs not closed to Chinese applicants.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,