Friday, December 3, 2021

Chinese Theaters in San Francisco

Listings for “Chinese Theater” in San Francisco city directories apparently began in 1865. In 1880 the names of the theaters appeared parenthetically. Beginning in 1870, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper published engravings of San Francisco’s Chinese theaters. As early as 1876, San Francisco Chinese theater engravings appeared in books. Below is a selection of articles, items and images about the theaters. 

1865 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, Northwest corner Dupont and Jackson

Urbana Union (Ohio), June 7, 1865, page 4:
They have a Chinese theater at San Francisco at which they have been playing a piece called “Hi-Fun-Ming,” for a week, and had not got to the end at the last accounts. 
1866 San Francisco City Directory
not available

1867 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, East side Dupont between Clay and Washington, and Northwest corner Dupont and Jackson

Carson Daily Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), November 22, 1867, page 2: 
A Chinese theater, to cost $10,000, is to [be] built on Jackson Street.
1868 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, North side Jackson near Dupont, and South side Commercial between Kearny and Dupont

Gold Hill Daily News (Nevada), January 27, 1868, page 2: 
Chinese Theater.—A new Chinese Theater, in San Francisco, was dedicated Friday morning. The Alta says: “Incense was burned profusely; the leading characters of the historic drama, in gorgeous costume, were on the stage; smoke was blown against the four walls, representing the four quarters of the globe, from whence intelligence is invoked, and other ceremonies which cannot be described in the English language were performed, the whole closing with the beheading of a cock and grand display of fireworks and a fue de joie, which consumed half a ton of fire-crackers, more or less. The machine is now in running order, and the newly imported company will make their debut before a California audience some time next week.” 
Louisiana Democrat (Alexandria, Louisiana), November 11, 1868, page 3: 
Chinese Theatricals.—The company now employed at the Chinese Theater on Jackson street, consists of no less than eighty performers, the most of whom appear nightly on the stage. The latter consists merely of a platform without drop curtain or side scenes; the rear being hung with richly-embroidered curtains and tapestry inwoven with silk of various brilliant colors and gold. These stage properties are said to have cost so the $7,000 in China, where goods of this kind are cheap as compared with the cost in this country. The expense of bringing these performers to California was $1,000 each; yet the management is likely to make the experiment paying one, the theater being crowded every night with spectators, at seventy-five cents admission each, this being the price to all parts of the house. The costume of the actors and the stage trappings are rich and gorgeous; but the performances are of the most grotesque and noisy kind, being to “outsiders” quite incomprehensible. Like the entire fitting up and surroundings of the place, the acting is truly barbaric.—[San Francisco Times, Sept. 30. 
1869 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, 630 Jackson and South side Commercial between Kearny and Dupont

1870 San Francisco City Directory
not available

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, April 30, 1870, page 98: “The Coming Man!”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, May 7, 1870, pages 114, 120, 121, 122

1871 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, 630 Jackson and South side Commercial between Kearny and Dupont

Indianapolis Evening News (Indiana), March 24, 1871, page 3: 
The San Francisco Morning Call has the following description of a Chinese theater:

The Hong [sic] Ching Yuen theater is located on the north side of Jackson street, near Dupont, and the entrance is at the end of a long corridor, on which open a number of doors leading into gambling saloons. ...
1872 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 630 Jackson

Perrysburg Journal (Ohio), October 18, 1872, page 2: Chinese Theater in San Francisco.

1873 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, Hing Chung Yuen proprietor, 628 Jackson

Pulaski Citizen (Tennessee), September 25, 1873, page 1: 
Chinese Theatricals in California
The Chinese theater on Jackson street has lost none of its prestige by the opening of numerous rival establishments of a similar character, and among the Celestials, especially with reference to the aristocracy, is more, popular than ever. The management of the theater has always been characterized by discretion in the selection and production of plays and due regard for the tasks of the people, together with an unswerving adherence to popular prices for admission, thus encouraging the patrons of the drama to become regular in attendance and whetting the appetite of the younger heathen. The properties of the theater have attained a great value, the stock company has become one of the best of its kind in the world, and the orchestra has reached that stage of perfection, according to an eminent Chinese critic, which harmonizes agreeably with the motto of the theater, signifying that improvement is impossible and depreciation improbable. The business manager of the theater, an urbane fellow of 30 summers, has just displayed rare tact and enterprise by bringing out from China a star of the first magnitude, who assumes female characters with startling fidelity, and has withal fine social qualities. This engagement is one of the greatest successes the theater has ever known. During the last three nights the performances have netted in the aggregate $2,000. The play smacks strongly of sensation, and is utterly devoid of the moral-lessons which should be inculcated on the heathen, but is free from the taint of indecency. Tho musical selections embrace gems culled from the Chinese national airs. The drama abounds in domestic scene among the Chinese, which are rendered the more striking by the musical accompaniments, and possesses many novel and ingenious features. The practice of allowing dealers in refreshments to monopolize seates with their stock is reprehensible in the extreme, and should cease at once and forever, even if by taking prompt action in this regard the retail dealers in fruits, rice, sweetmeats, filial porridge, sugarcane, etc., are sorely displeased and endeavor to injure the business of the house by slanderous, statements. We realize that a hint will suffice to achieve an abatement of this refreshment nuisance, and are therefore content to leave the disposition of the complaint with the management.—San Francisco Bulletin.
1874 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater (Hing Chung Yuen proprietor), 630 Jackson

Ashtabula Telegraph (Ohio), July 18, 1874, page 1: 
A Chinese Jubilee in San Francisco
The opening of the new Chinese Theater, on Jackson Street, was celebrated by a banquet, given under the auspices of eminent heathen interested in this very laudable historic enterprise, at the Chinese restaurant on the corner of Jackson Street and Washington Alley, known as the Choy Yan Fow. The illustrious Dr. Li-po-tir [sic] officiated as master of ceremonies, and among the guests were something less than a score of prominent Christian gentlemen. The feast was very elaborately laid out, and included over a dozen courses and viands, beyond enumeration. All the national dishes of China were laid before the guests, exquisitely prepared and some procured at great expense. There was the delicious bird-nest soup, salads of shark’s fins, strangled pigeons, sun-dried sardines, pummelled devil-fish served with milk and molasses, pig’s brains friccaseed [sic] with garlic and buzzard’s tripe, sewer squirrels dripped with machine oil, the imperial bow-wow larded with duck’s heads and fungus, chicken crops in batter, scrambled crockodile [sic] eggs, goat’s pluck, and a hundred other dainty viands found nowhere else than on the boards of the Mongol nobility. Of all other dishes the delicious Mut Chin Tong was particularly relished by the Christian guests, and a bountiful supply was entirely consumed before the close of the feast. The Mut Chin Tong; as explained by Dr. Li-po-tai, is a conglomerate dish, the basis being a ground nut which is the principal food of the great babboon [sic] of Borneo and the ape family of the Indies in general. The preference to the guests illustrated the remarkable faculty of adaptation possessed by some species of the human race and demonstrated the accuracy of an important principal of the theory of evolution. After the board had been cleared there was a happy exchange of sentiment and rapartee [sic], and conviviality reigned supreme. The genial Fang Pung flowed in profusion. It is a preparation distilled from mildewed rice, impregnated with verdigris, the intoxicating principle of which does not develop until two days after imbibition and continues for three weeks, when it is succeeded by malignant headache and rheumatism. The large company finally arose after a cheerful association of three hours and separated with the usual ceremonies. There was a roaring tragedy performed at the theater in the evening, founded on some historic event that occurred several thousand years before the remotest period of Masonic chronology. San Francisco Bulletin.
Pioche Daily Record (Nevada), September 9, 1874, page 2: 
San Francisco, Sept. 8.—... The Royal Chinese Theater was opened to-night with a troop just from China.
1875 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (old), 618 Jackson

1876 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, 618 and 623 1/2 Jackson

Lights and Shades in San Francisco
Benjamin E. Lloyd
A.L. Bancroft, 1876
page 218: The Chinese of San Francisco.
following page 244: Interior of Chinese Theatre.
pages 264–266: In the Theatre.
... In San Francisco, there are two Chinese theaters; the most popular of which is the Chinese Royal Theatre, on Jackson Street. ...

The Pacific Tourist: Williams’ Illustrated Trans-continental Guide of Travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean
Henry T. Williams, Editor
H. T. Williams, 1876
pages 278–291: The Chinese in San Francisco 

San Francisco Chronicle, October 31, 1876, page 3: Crushed to Death.
A Terrible Accident at the Royal Chinese Theater.
A Panic During the Performance. 
Nineteen Chinamen Trampled into Eternity.
Ghostly Sights Among the Dead.
Cause of the Fatal Catastrophe—Scenes and Incidents.

At about 12 o’clock last night a frightful accident occurred at the Royal China Theater, No. 626 Jackson street, which in its horrible details and scenes of terror was unequaled by any event which has occurred in the Chinese quarter for many a day. The entertainment at this theater last evening was given as a benefit to one of the most popular actors who perform at the theater and the house was crowded from the bottom of the pit to the outermost recesses of the gallery, every bench being occupied. In the neighborhood of 3,000 men had crowded into the place, quite a number of Chinese females being present, but only two or three white men. At about 12 o’clock, while the drama at present running there was being played.

A Small Fire

In some matting in the gallery, which had caught by the sparks from a cigarette or cigar in the bands of some careless Chinaman, was discovered. The man who made this startling discovery regardless of the consequences, even if he had foreseen them, sounded the alarm immediately in his own tongue, which everybody understood to mean destruction and death by burning. The utmost confusion prevailed, and a panic ensued. The large numbers of Chinese in the auditorium rushed frantically for the door, while those packed in the gallery did the same. Some twenty-five or thirty men from the lower part of the house reached the door first and were almost simultaneously overwhelmed by the frightened crowd which was surging down from the gallery. The doors, which are double and each about twelve feet high by six feet wide, were closed, but 

Resistless Torrent

Of yellow humanity poured down the stairs, through them without attempting to open either, and the consequence was that the foremost crowd, about thirty in number, were scarcely out before the stairway broke and the massive door fell upon and crushed them to the floor, while over it, crowded and jostled the dense audience without a thought of the consequences. In the mean time, the premature fire, which had made no headway, was summarily quenched by a Christian Chinaman named Adam Quinn, who, besides stamping upon it, took off his coat and covered it. The actors upon the stage were entirely ignorant of the cause of the panic, and did not stop to inquire concerning it, but continued with their performance, which had the effect of staying many of the frightened Chinese who were 

Trampling Everything Down

In their efforts to effect an exit. The passage of the dense crowds through the entrance and the heart-rending shrieks of the crushed and dying under the doors alarmed several policemen on Jackson street, who immediately endeavored to effect an entrance into the theater and sent to the police station for assistance. Officer Duffield, a special on Jackson street, was one of the first white men who essayed to stem the panic-stricken tide flowing out of the doorway, and he was obliged to use his club vigorously before he could stop a single man in his way. Half a dozen stalwart policemen from the watch which was just about to leave the station for duty on their respective beats, repaired quickly to the scene, and the combined efforts of a dozen officers were necessary to stop the outgoing Chinese. The work was accomplished by knocking several Celestials about, and the remainder, realizing that the danger in the theater, whatever it was, had disappeared, fell back on the crowd and 

Checked Their Frantic Companions.

By this time Capt. Douglas with dozen more policemen arrived, with large crowds of white men, who, hearing the alarm, had rushed to the spot. The railing of the stairway leading from the gallery to the lower floor, had given way, and several of the frightened men had fallen down, only to be crushed under foot by their equally terror-stricken companions. The tide having been checked, the officers raised the prostrated door and removed the dead and dying from beneath it. Some were stone dead, while all under it were more or leas injured. Nineteen were conveyed to the street dead, and seven others who were rapidly dying. 

The Bodies

Were ranged along the sidewalk. The entrance to the theater, a hall about forty feet in length by some twelve in width, occupied on one side by a couple of Chinese fruit venders, was cleared away, and the panic-stricken audience allowed to pass out. The news of the accident spread like wildfire, and over a thousand Chinese, men and women, from all parts of Chinatown, thronged to the scene, and the sidewalk, the entire length of Jackson street, between Kearney and Dupont, was completely lined with half-nude Celestials, gazing with blanched faces at each body as it was carried out into the street. One stalwart Chinaman, weighing about 170 pounds, was brought out and laid upon the walk, his clothes torn and his body lacerated by the many feet that had 

Trampled Relentlessly Over Him. 

His face was black with suffocation, and the crimson fluid was running in a stream from his nose and ears. Life had not yet left him, but in his dying agonies he writhed and crawled about the pavement, swinging his bare arms in the air, and shrieking for the relief that could not come. At the right of the doorway, and at the foot of the four or five steps from the theater door to the floor of the hallway, is a stairway descending into a dark alley. Several of the foremost Chinese of the crowd that were crushed under the falling door had been precipitated down these stairs, and two were brought on with broken limbs. One was placed at the front entrance in a sitting posture against a box of fruit, and the other

A Young Man of High Degree

Was taken into Yu Hum Choy’s—the manager of the theater—office. A few moments later Dr. Stivers, the city and county physician, arrived and examined him. As the unfortunate fellow lay upon a low bench covered with matting at one side of the room, he was turning over and over and groaning in agony. As the doctor felt his limbs to ascertain the nature of his injuries, he yelled, “Oh, no, no; me no hurt’ as if fearing that his excruciating agonies were to be increased. The other man, somewhat older, who had been placed near the doorway, sat in stolid silence, his pale face, under the flickering rays of a gas jet, recording the most excruciating suffering. About fifteen minutes was consumed in the passage of the crowd of Chinese from the theater, and the acting of the play by the company was continued until the last deputation had departed, when

The Actors and Actresses

Rushed in a body to the doorway to discover what had transpired, indulging in many guttural exclamations of terror at the long line of dead bodies placed upon the pavement. With much trouble the crowds which had assembled upon Jackson street were driven by the police up to Dupont street, where an unsuccessful effort was made to disperse them. Nineteen of the twenty-eight taken from the hallway and removed to the street were found to be dead. Dr. Stivers examined several who betrayed no outward signs of injury, and said they seeded to have been suffocated to death. Eight or ten bore marks of violence, several bleeding at the nose and ears, the crimson stream, running across the walk into the gutter, while the faces of three or four others

Turned Upward in the Light

Were black and discolored. Several of those taken from under the door lived a few moments after being removed, their agonizing shrieks filling the air and exciting the lamentations of adjacent Chinese, who witnessed the writhing contortions. One Chinaman, who broke frantically through the line of policemen, and passed one of the dying men, threw up his arms and yelled in horror at the agonies of his countrymen as soon as the bodies were taken from the hallway, and the wounded who could walk had been led into adjoining houses, the Coroner was notified, and the dead bodies taken to the Morgue. 
San Francisco Chronicle, November 1, 1876, page 8: The Theater Tragedy. How Chinese Theater Panics Have Been Caused.

The Wasp, November 4, 1876, page 118: Death of Nineteen Chinamen, Caused During a Stampede in a Chinese Theater on Jackson St. Oct. 30th. (below)

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, November 18, 1876, page 171: 
A false alarm of fire in a Chinese theatre in San Francisco occasioned a panic and the loss of twenty lives.
The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, December 9, 1876, page 262: 
... A benefit performance was being given in the Royal China Theatre, Jackson  street. More than 3,000 Chinese men and women, it was computed, were present. Only two or three white men attended. About twelve o’clock some matting in the gallery caught fire from the sparks of a cigar, and a panic ensued. Some 15 or 20 men from the lower part of the house reached the door first, but they were almost simultaneously overwhelmed from the crowd pouring down from the gallery. The doors, which were [?] wide, were closed, but soon afterwards the massive door fell in, crushing several persons. The staircase, too, gave way. The noise and shrieks of the people below increased the alarm of those within, and the terrified Chinese rushed like madmen to the entrance, trampling and crushing everybody in their way. The actors upon the stage, ignorant of the cause of the panic, continued the performance, and this had the effect of calming many of the audience who otherwise would have joined in the flight. The passage of the dense crowds through the entrance, and the shrieks of the crushed and dying attracted the attention of the police, who, having obtained assistance, stopped the panic-stricken crowd by freely striking the Chinese on the head with their batons, and the remainder inside, finding the danger in the theatre was at an end—the burning had been put out without difficulty by one man—fell back and checked their frantic companions. When safety was reassured, 19 bodies were taken from beneath the door and the broken stairway, and several persons were found seriously injured. Death had in many instances been caused by suffocation, but several of the bodies bore marks of violence. The news of the panic having spread, a crown of more than a thousand Chinese men and women lined Jackson-street, their lamentations mingling with the agonising [sic] shrieks of the dying. 
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, December 23, 1876, page 259: Coolness in Peril.
... Another case of coolness is cited from California. Nearly a hundred persons were killed or wounded in the recent stampede in the Chinese Theatre in San Francisco. The story now has a new and terrible significance for Eastern readers. The panic was started by a Chinaman who was frightened out of his wits. Some one had carelessly thrown on the floor a lighted cigar or cigarette, and the matting in the gallery has caught fire. The man who first noticed the flames, instead of stamping them out, sprang to his feet, and in the Chinese tongue yelled “Fire! Fire!” At the top of his voice. The panic-stricken audience sprang to their feet, and rushed for the door, giving no heed to the actors on the stage, who were as self-possessed and brave as Miss Claxton and Mr. Studley at the Brooklyn Theatre. Meanwhile, a man in the gallery had taken off his overcoat, and smothered the flames. The theatre was saved, but it was too late to stay the panic.
1877 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, 618 and 623 1/2 Jackson

San Francisco Chronicle (California), July 9, 1877, page 3
Chinese Theatricals.
Looking Up an Asiatic Richelieu and Limber Kicker.
Public Ledger (Memphis, Tennessee), July 30, 1877, page 3: 
Suits by Chinese Actors
They Demand Damages for False Imprisonment by Their Managers in San Francisco—Gunpowder Plots and Assassinations Following.
San Francisco Chronicle (California), October 13, 1877, page 3: 
New Chinese Theater.
A Grand Star Company of Heathen Artists on the Way.
The Wasp, October 20, 1877, page 188: 
A new Chinese theatre is in course of erection on Washington street. It will be a very commodious place of amusement. A parquet and dress circle will extend round the house. Its cost will be $26,000. The lot has been leased for five years, with the option of purchase any time before the expiration of the lease for $75,000. The theatre is the property of six wealthy Chinamen, and will open early next month, with a company of ninety-two actors and six cooks. The company will sleep and eat on the premises, and will receive $1,500 a year each, with board. The manager, Ah Wang, is now on his way from Hongkong with the troupe.
St. Johnsbury Caledonian (Vermont), November 16, 1877, page 1: 
The Chinese in California
p1 c4: ... We attended the Royal Chinese theater one night, chaperoned by one “Quick Choy,” who is a very gentlemanly Chinaman, and book-keeper for a firm that employs 500 Mongolians. He has been in this country seven years, having been home once in the time. He came for us in a carriage and held it in waiting until our return, ushered us into an opera box, and had an English version of the play which he said was one of their best. Here it is: Scene, China; time, 2075 years ago. China was then divided into seven kingdoms, each desired supremacy, and wished to conquer the rest. Consequently there was a state of chronic war between them. In course of time there arose a wise man named Lov Chun, who, by the wisdom of his counsels, prevailed. A general peace was accordingly proclaimed and Lov Chun was installed minister of state. Each king by royal proclamation instructs his general officer to convey Lov Chun to his home in great pomp and splendor, who spends the remainder of his days in the enjoyment of great public esteem. Now these plays often run as long as one of the New York Weekly serials, and it may be the 295th act or the drama you are witnessing. The theater is a rival of the one across the way, and is dingy, shabby and devoid of all attractiveness. The body of the house was well filled with Chinamen of all ages, classes and kinds of faces. Hats were all on, most of them leaned their elbows upon the seats in front, and the mass smoked continually. In the gallery were a few white people, and three Chinese women came in and went out alone. The orchestra plays almost incessantly, and heaven knows to what delicate tones the ears of these celestials are attuned for of all the discordant sounds ever banged out of instruments these rank first and are the worst. The principal musician plays a full-fledged gong, another drums on a piece of hard wood, and a third brings forth queer harmony from a two-stringed violin, and iron and other materials of that sort come in to the general melee. The din is indescribable and its memory lasts you for a long time. The musicians are at the right of the stage, which has no drop curtain and no side entrances, and are dressed in their usual day garments, with a white apron on instead of the loose sacque. Over the stage is “Yo Heme Choy,” Royal Chinese Theater, and numerous cabalistic signs or Chinese characters are on either side in black and red. Through an open window you see portions of the paraphernalia they put on and take off, and all the actors come out of one door and return through by drawing aside the curtain. Their singing is the same on the stage as in the house, a sort of sing-song chanting with little variation to the range of notes. The costumes of the actors were gorgeous in the extreme, fresh and new, embroidered in gold, scarlet and white figures and gay flowers, having a very rich effect by gaslight. Our escort informed us that they were new, just imported, made by hands of Chinese ladies and cost too much money. They certainly were very rich and splendid in glitter, light and coloring, and on one we discerned an elegant peacock with gay plumage, very dazzling. No women take part, but ’tis hard to believe it for they resemble them so closely with their paint, powder and manner of dress, and even in their feet and way of showing them, for they looked very petite on the stage. As we came away crowds of Chinamen were standing outside upon the sidewalk and sauntering up and down the pave. The street and its throngs of people, its animation and odd-looking restaurants, with gay exteriors, hanging-baskets and pots of flowers, its grotesque lamps over porticos and doors, the men in the quaintly flowing garments, braided queues and yellow faces, gave a strangely foreign aspect to the place, and we could readily imagine ourselves in another land for the time being. ...
San Francisco Chronicle (California), December 13, 1877, page 4: advertisements

Indianapolis News (Indiana), December 14, 1877, page 2: 
“Yung Lee Luk Shun Fun” is the title of the new San Francisco Chinese theater in San Francisco. 
1878 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theatres, 621 and 630 Jackson and 834 Washington

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, August 24, 1878, page 421: The All Night Supper Spread in the Dressing Room of the Royal China Theatre.

Morning Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), October 27, 1878, page 2: 
The Chinese Theater opened last week, at San Francisco, with a new company which arrived by the last steamer from China. The leading actor is paid a salary of $7,000 a year, under a contractor for two years. He is also furnished a room in the theater, board and a servant. He has had a large room fitted up for himself, and furnished with carpet and American furniture, at a cost of $180, and has a mirror costing $70, placed there. He would not consent to play until these articles were furnished him.
Between the Gates
Benjamin Franklin Taylor
S.C. Griggs and Company, 1878

1879 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theaters, 618 and 623 Jackson, and 836 Washington

Harper’s Weekly, January 25, 1879, page 77: Chinese Sketches

Evening Star (Washington, DC), March 8, 1879, page 3: 
Marriage at a Dying Man’s Bedside—Matthew Crooks, one of the pioneer residents of San Francisco, and prominently known from his wealth and enterprise, died at 7 a. m. yesterday at the age of 67 years. Deceased was a native of Cookstown, county of Tyrone, Ireland. He emigrated to this country in early life, and was engaged In business some 8 or 10 years in New Orleans. On the breaking out of the gold-discovery excitement he came to California, arriving here in 1849. He leaves an estate valued at about $1,000,000, including the new Chinese theater and Joss House on Washington street, and other valuable property. He was a man possessed of great business sagacity, an indomitable will, strong opinions, sound judgment, and an irreproachable character. When It became evident on Sunday that his end was near, Mr. Crooks expressed a desire to witness the nuptials of his daughter Annie and Edward Barron, which had been set for some future time, and in accordance with his wish the marriage took place at 4 p. m. on Sunday last in the chamber of the dying man. The ceremony being performed by Rev. Father Speekels.—[San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 26
Newtown Bee (Newtown, Connecticut), March 11, 1879, page 1: 
Long Yow, an actor in the Royal Chinese theater, San Francisco, is paid at the rate of $6,700 a year. 
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 14, 1879, page 248: The Chinese in San Francisco: How They Cook and Eat in Their Theatres.

Evening Star (Washington, DC), October 4, 1879, page 6: 
This, too, writes a correspondent, is up stairs—a poorly ventilated, well crowded hall with a single gallery, one side of which the Chinese women alone occupy. There is a light sprinkling of Europeans in the audience. Spectators do not remove their hats, and almost everyone is smoking. Little stands back of the seats sell fruits, cigars, and sweetmeats. The stage is of fair size, guadily [sic] draped, but without scenery. The orchestra, with its rasping, clattering music, occupies a prominent place back of the center of the stage, and the actors come in through a curtained opening on the left, and pass out uniformly through a similar exit on the right. The feature of this orchestra is the man with the symbals [sic]. He stands near the actors’ entrance and signalizes the appearance of the players by a vigorous clashing of the dish-like instruments. No actresses are tolerated in Chinatown. The female parts are represented by males, and this constitutes, in fact, the most artistic element of the drama. Of course, we cannot understand the plot. Three grotesquely dressed characters rush out amid the clashing of the cymbals, and begin a conversation sounding, so far as our straining ears can comprehend, like this: “Ow-low-pathety-plang, Weow-kor-r-r-r-ugh!” After this burst of patriotic sentiment one of the three grotesques make a pretense f thrusting his sword through another, who immediately lies down, comfortably stretches himself as if dead, while the cold-blooded assassin marches off at the right. The dead man soon thereafter performs the unrivaled feat of resurrecting himself, and also walks off with a stately tread. Several permitted themselves to be ruthlessly slain in like manner, when all retired, and we were informed that a new play, or a new act, was to be opened with the usual preface of a tumbling performance. The cymbals clashed, and the tumblers, strangely attired, entered. A little dialogue—presumably a dialogue—occurred. A table of about six feet long was moved to the center of the stage, and the tumbling commenced. One after another the acrobats ran at full speed toward the table, curled up and went over without touching It. Some landed upon the backs of their heads, some flat upon their backs, and some upon their necks, all gracefully, and without the least indication of pain. This part of the performance is incomprehensible, and how these professionals undergo the shock without shivering their anatomy is a veritable Chinese puzzle.
Iola Register (Kansas), October 17, 1879, page 6: 
A fourth Chinese Theater is being erected in San Francisco. It will be a substantial iron building, seating 2,500 persons. There used to be hot rivalry, and the three theaters lost money. Then the competing managers pooled their issues in the Wing Ti Ping, of Company of Eternal Peace; but the peace has already been broken by the new project. 
Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York), October 31, 1879, page 4: 
A Celestial Theater.
The Opening Night of a Chinese Play House.
Almond-Eyed Actors “Treading the Boards” in San Francisco—Acquainting Americans with the Senseless Acting of the East.
[From the San Francisco Call]
The Grand Gee Quun Young [sic] Chinese Theater, or the new Chinese theater, on Washington street, above Dupont, was opened to the Chinese public at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon. ...
1880 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

1881 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

The Pacific Tourist: Adams and Bishop’s Illustrated Trans-Continental Guide of Travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
Frederick E. Shearer
Adams & Bishop, 1881

1882 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

The Century, June 1882, pages 189–192: In a Chinese Theater

Ottawa Free Trader (Illinois), June 3, 1882, page 7: 
A Chinese Drama.
A night “In a Chinese Theater” of San Francisco is quaintly described in the June Century by George H. Fitch, who says of the play:

The drama that was presented on this occasion is known as “Thew Dragon Disputing Pearls.” It is a play of intrigue, in which diplomacy takes the place of love. In fact, the tender passion, which lends the main interest to the dramatic literature of other nations, is almost whole ignored by the Chinese playwrights. 

In the drama referred to, the scene opens on the household of an Emperor, who is blessed with two wives. Each spouse represents a favored province that has shared in the honors and rewards of the royal choice. Each wile has borne a son, but to the son by the first wile belongs the inheritance of the throne. The fierce jealousy between the partisans of the two wives is communicated to the two brothers, and in a quarrel the younger slays his elder brother, throws the body into the river, and gives out the report of an accidental drowning. The truth of this domestic tragedy reaches the ears of the Emperor. He summons the younger wife and her son. In the mother’s presence he kills her boy, but not before she has bruised his forehead in her struggle to save the youth. Injury to the Emperor’s person is a capital offense, and the wife escapes death only by declaring that she is with child. A short time after she gives birth to a boy. The Emperor has a great desire to get possession of this infant heir to the throne. He succeeds in palming off a spurious infant on the nurse. The mother detects the fraud, ascertains where the genuine child is hidden, dons male attire, and at the head of an armed force (six “supers”) marches to the province and demands her child. A long parley is held with the governor of the province, but when the Imperial flag is shown, this functionary delivers up the infant, and the militant mother returns in triumph. The Emperor is struck with her ability, recognizes the child as his heir, and peace broods over the imperial household. 

The performance of this play—one of the shortest in the theatrical repertory—was begun at 6 o’clock and ended at midnight. It was relieved by not a single sparkle of wit, not a solitary gleam of humor. The nearest approach to pleasantry was furnished by the speech of the Emperor when he killed his child. The mother exclaimed, “Alas! you have slain our son.” To which his answer is: “Well, console yourself; I’m not going to kill him again.” This brought out a burst of laughter from the audience; all seemed to regard it as a finished bit of humor. They looked on unmoved, however, when the gory corpse rose and retired from the stage, while a member of the orchestra handed to the murderer a false head, which he apostrophized in blood-curdling terms. The only other expression of enjoyment was elicited by the disguise of the mother in a man’s attire. When she stroked her long false beard, several of the spectators laughed heartily, while a ripple of smiles passed over the stolid faces of the others. Tho roles of the two wives were played by Chinese men with fine soprano voices. One was a skillful actor, and imitated many peculiar feminine traits and gestures with much nicety. The leading man, who was brought over from Peking, and whose salary is $10,000 a year, has a lace brim-full of fun.
Watertown Republican (Wisconsin), July 19, 1882, page 3: 
More Effective Than Hissing.
The Chinese have a peculiar and very forcible way of expressing disapproval at their theaters. The ill-bred hiss or groan is never heard in Chinese places of amusement. An incident happening recently in the Chinese theater on Jackson Street illustrates the celestial mode of “sitting upon” an actor. The members of Tuck on Tong Society visited the theater and hurled cobbles and stones upon the stage. One of the actors was struck on the head by a missile and dangerously hurt. The cause of their displeasure was their failure to receive the free passes usually bestowed upon them by the management on first nights. The leader of the Tuck on Tongs was convicted some time ago of murder, and the members of the society incorporated with the Check On Tongs. The managers of the theater knew this, but in issuing tickets to the last named society forgot to include the new members. The owners of the theater were powerless to protect their company from the assault.
1883 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, March 24, 1883, page 75: 
Loo Chin Goon, the most popular actor that ever delighted a Chinese audience in San Francisco, has come to New York, where he thinks of starting a Chinese Theatre next fall.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), August 18, 1883, page 1: 
Row at the Chinese Theater in ’Frisco.
A Benefit performance for the Knights Templar—Chinese Shut  Out and Raise a Rumpus.
San Francisco, August 18.—A benefit performance was tendered by the Chinese theater to the triennial committee yesterday, which was largely attended, 1,800 persons being present, mostly eastern Knights and their ladles. All the actors were Chinamen. The Chinese manager issued an order that no Chinamen be permitted to enter the theater. This was indignantly resented by the Chinamen outside, who made several attempts in a body to enter, but were repulsed by the police. The Chinamen then threw stones through the window, and several were arrested. The receipts of the performance are estimated to be $1,000.
Millheim Journal (Pennsylvania), December 6, 1883, page 1: 
A Chinese Theater.
Visit to One in San Francisco.—After the Performance.—An Oriental Banquet.
Describing a visit to the Chinese quarters of San Francisco, a correspondent says:

In the rounds of regular sight-seeing all strangers go to the Grand Theater, or playhouse of the “Donu Quai Yuen,” where melodrama and tragedy alternately excite the audience to shouts of laughter and rounds of applause. The performance begins at 5 o’clock in the evening and lasts until midnight, and the historical plays often run for a week before the one drama is completed. The actors are all brought over from the old country, at salaries ranging from $2000 to $6OOO a year. At times troops of jugglers and acrobats have come over for shorter engagements, and occasionally a famous singer or musician. The drama goes on with fine disregard to unities, and the scenic accessories are so meager that much is left to the imagination. Women never appear on the Chinese stage, and their parts are taken by gifted men, who mince around the stage in the little foot hop and talk a piping falsetto. The costumes are often of great richness and splendor, and some of the robes of superb brocades and of satins stiff with needle work and gold thread, are worthy of places in an art museum. The eastern visitors go daft over the Chinese theater and want to attend steadily, but to the San Franciscan it is the height of marytrdom [sic] to endure the constant accompaniment of the gong, the wooden drum and the one-stringed fiddle, on which the orchestra play a wailing sort of tune that half-way resembles “Old Tom Tucker” and “There is a Happy Land.” ...
1884 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Ottawa Free Trader (Illinois), April 26, 1884, page 6: 
A California Court Scene.
The case of three Mongolians who claimed a right to land came up in the circuit court before Judge Sebin yesterday morning. Two of them claimed to have resided here in times gone by, and by producing satisfactory evidence were discharged. Tho third one, Fong Win, stated that he was an actor of twenty years standing. Win waddled up to the witness-stand with a dignity of bearing that made an impression on his honor, and stated that he intended to have gone to Victoria, but that he had condescended to exhibit himself at the Grand Chinese theater in this city for $100 a month and found.

“You say you are an actor; give us a specimen of your ability,” said Mr. Hildron.

Win, after stating that his specialty consists in personating tho heavy weight judge, proceeded to gratify the court and the spectators. Drawing in a long respiration and assuming a judicial frown—a novelty to our judges—the coming star of the Grand Chinese theater broke forth into a Celestial tirade, the sense of which was a judicial authority’s awful condemnation of a poor culprit to the land of headless people. As he was beginning the second edition in a still higher key, Judge Sebin shouted to the interpreters to tell the actor to stop and go forth, as there was no doubt that he is, as he claimed to be, an actor.—San Francisco Chronicle.
McCook Weekly Tribune (Nebraska), September 11, 1884, page 3: 
A Circus in Court
Four Chinese Actors Display Their Ability Before Judge Hoffman.
San Francisco Call
Among the Chinese habeas corpus cases that came up for hearing before Judge Hoffman yesterday were those of four Chinese actors, Ah Sie, Long Kwong, Wa and Lee Tong. The four claimed that they had been employed previous to 1881, when they returned to China, at the Chinese theater on Jackson street, near Dupont. During the course of their examination some doubts were expressed as to their respective abilities as exponents of the Chinese drama, and at the request of Carroll Cook each of the four exerted himself to display his dramatic worth. Long Kwong was a “jumper,” and rising and placing his chair to one side he stood on one leg, holding the other out straight and holing both arms heaven ward, with the fingers of his hands out-stretched, he hopped around to the infinite amusement of all in the court room. He displayed such agility that no one disputed his claim and he was discharged. Wa was a sweet singer from, the “chop stick” district, and he commenced a Chinese rendering of the “Babies on our Block,” beginning in a low, fog-horn key, and rising suddenly to a shriek that caused the building to shake and his honor to order him discharged at once and removed from the neighborhood, for fear he might be tempted to tackle another bar of the song. Ah Sie was a female impersonator, and went through the performance of a forlorn maiden with an imaginary villian [sic] still pursuing her. According to Sie’s rendering the forlorn maiden of the flowery kingdom, when she sees a villian approaching, holds her arms out straight and whirls around like a top, at the same time uttering shrill shrieks of terror, supposed to pierce the villian’s heart like arrows. Judge Hoffman ordered the versatile Sie discharged and sent to find the sweet singer. The remaining actor, when called upon to show his abilities, astonished everyone. First of all he kicked off his shoes, and then proceeded to clear the chairs from the center of the court room. The interpreter winked at Mr. Cook and explained that the last man was a clown. Judge Hoffman was beginning to look aghast at the deliberation with which the so-called clown was preparing for his exhibition. A space of twenty feet having been cleared the clown stood in the center of the space and glared around with such a demoniac grin and roll of his eyes, that several of the attorneys moved uneasily in their seats. It was only for a moment. Immediately after the Chinaman gave a bound in the air and almost touched the large chandelier; then he rolled over and over, this way and that, and all that was visible was a black ball with legs and arms flying around it. He was up in the air, then at this end of the room, then at the other. The “Beggar’s Dance” which Pan-ku-keevis danced at Hiawatha’s festival, was nothing to compare with this display of agility. Fearful that the zeal of the actor would lead him too far, and that he would expire from exhaustion, Judge Hoffman declared him self satisfied that the clown was really a peer in his profession, and other evidence of the clown’s former residence here being adduced, Judge Hoffman ordered him discharged and bail exonerated.
The Century, November 1884, pages 27–44: The Chinese Theater, by Henry Burden McDowell, 13 pictures

Democratic Press (Ohio), December 18, 1884, page 1: 
The Chinese Theatre.
From an article under the above title, by Henry Burden McDowell, in the November Century, we quote the following: “The Chinese theater, however, is perhaps seen at its best in the evening. What pushing and chattering and quarreling there is, to be sure, as you make your way through the celestials who throng the box-office! The box-office, too, with its little pigeon-holes, seems rather small for the purpose. But, as the Chinese always bring the exact sum, no change is necessary, and everything moves with admirable dispatch. You have probably engaged a box, or ‘room,’ as the Chinese call it, and as your name has been posted conspicuously upon it, there is no chance for mistake.

“The stage is ablaze with brilliant costumes of red and gold. The lights from the iron chandeliers flare heavily in the draught. Processions of armies, emperors, statesmen, and generals enter in rapid succession through a red-curtained door on one side and pass out through a red-curtained door on the other. Now the emperor is holding an audience. The next moment his troops are engaged in bitter combat with the retainers of some unruly vassal. Every species of crime, every form of human passion is crowded into the brief moment of the fleeting scene. A messenger from heaven, standing on a chair, delivering his high summons to a fairy fish, is next presented to your confused imagination. Then, whirling in angry passion, a painted-face king, pulling his feathers fiercely, and loudly threatening all manner of dreadful things. The orchestra keeps up its infernal din. In shrill falsetto the characters sing through a sort of high pitched recitative.

“Presently you pass down behind the stage, through the paint-room, where an actor is making himself as ugly as vermilion and umber can well do it; then by means of a narrow stairway down to the dressing room, rich in its very confusion, and strewn around with costly brocades and satins wherever the convenience of the last actor had left them. It is not long before you find yourself standing on the stage, so near the actors, too, that the emperor’s robes touch you as be sweeps superbly by. Then you are hurried bacK to your box again, where it is explained to you that the lighting is still going on, and that So-and-So has killed So-and-So and is off on horseback. You leave the theater of the oldest people in the world with a confused idea of the plot, burlesqued by your interpreter and still more highly colored by your heated imagination, with the blare of the trumpet and the strident wail of the fiddle in your ears, with the smell of all Chinatown in your nostrils. with a headache, perhaps, but with little added to your stock of information.”
1885 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Indianapolis Journal (Indiana), May 30, 1885, page 11: 
A Chinese Theater Party.
An Indiana Girl, Under the Care of a Celestial, Sees a Chinese Drama
Mr. Tam Choi, the Chaperone—The Inner Workings of a Chinese Temple of Thespis—The Orchestra and the Actors
Watertown Republican (Wisconsin), June 17, 1885, page 2: 
Chinatown, San Francisco’s suburb, was the scene of a $65,000 fire on the night of the 10th. The Chinese theater was destroyed.
Morning Journal and Courier (New Haven, Connecticut), August 25, 1885, page 1: The Chinese Drama.

Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

1887 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Chinese Theater, 626 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (new), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Omaha Daily Bee (Nebraska), December 30, 1888, page 11: 
Married a Mongolian Actor.
Chicago Herald: A variety actress named Gertie Richie was married by contract the other evening to Ah Back, a leading actor in female parts at the Chinese theater, San Francisco. The girl is a blonde and good looking, but chews gum constantly. She came here recently from Philadelphia, and has sung in several of the cheap concert theaters. She became infatuated with Back at the Chinese theater, though it is hinted that her love was inspired by report that he was rich and part owner of the theater. Through Mrs. Ah Cue, a Chinese woman who speaks good English, the marriage was arranged, and last evening the contract was drawn up and signed. Back is a good-looking Mongol, who draws a salary of $1,000 a year. He dresses well, and his rooms, where he entertained his friends, are clean and well furnished. The bride was gorgeous in paste diamond jewelry. She said she didn’t care what people thought about the marriage, as she liked to do what no one else wanted to. She had got the man she loved , she said and the public might take Vanderbilt’s advice.
1889 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Evening Star (Washington, DC), March 26, 1889, page 1: 
Murdered by Highbinders.
A Chinese Theatrical Man Shot Dead in the Streets of San Francisco.
San Francisco, March 26.—Sen Yum, ticket taker at the large Chinese theater on Jackson street, was fatally shot last evening by two unknown highbinders. He was walking down Jackson street, when three shots were fired. He dropped in his tracks. Not one of the Chinese gathered about offered to help him, nor could the officers get from the Mongols any clew [sic] to the assassins. Two heavily-armed highbinders were arrested and are thought to belong to the party. The police think the shooting was in revenge for the recent murder of a Chinaman in front of the theater by a friend of Sen Yum. One of the bullets intended for the Chinese victim struck Daniel Kelleher, a laborer, and wounded him severely.
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson
Chinese Theater (Royal), 836 Washington

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, July 5, 1890, page 75: Sketches in the Chinese Quarter, San Francisco.

Morning Call (San Francisco, California), November 2, 1890, page 1: 
Highbinders at Work.
Fatal Shooting of a Chinaman in a Crowded Theater.
Another Chinese highbinder rolled upon the floor at the Washington-street Theater last evening with two bullets in his body. ...
Los Angeles Herald (California), November 3, 1890, page 1: 
Fatal Shooting Affray in a Chinese Theater.
San Francisco, Nov. 2.—Last night shooting occurred in the Grand Chinese theater, in which a Chinese cigar maker, named Dick Ah Ding, was shot twice, once in the breast and once in the leg. ...
1891 San Francisco City Directory
Chinese Theater (Grand), 814 Washington
Chinese Theater (New), 623 Jackson

Indianapolis Journal (Indiana), April 30, 1891, page 4: 
New Sensation for Sarah. 
Bernhardt Goes Through Chinatown and Watches a Prize-Fight.
San Francisco. April 20.—Sarah Bernhardt seems to have energy enough to tire out half a dozen ordinary women. Saturday night, after two performances of “La Tosca,” the last of which only ended at midnight, she made a tour of Chinatown, inspected several opium dens and spent a long time in the Chinese Theater, tiring out every one who accompanied her. Early this morning (for the performance of “Cleopatra” did not end till nearly 1 o’clock) she went with several of her company to witness a slugging match at the Cremorne Theater, on Market street. Thomas Gillen and Ed Scooney gave a lively exhibition of the manly art. They fought four hard rounds, and Bernhardt was a deeply-interested spectator, especially when it looked ato ne time as though Scoonev would be knocked out. She had never before witnessed a prize-fight, and yearned for this new sensation.
Morning News (Savannah, Georgia), May 20, 1891, page 3: 
Lots of Fun for Bernhardt.
She Sees a Prize Fight and Raises the Dickens in Chinatown.
... Beenhardt [sic] went through Chinatown, of course, and game a performance at the Chinese theater, which those who saw wouldn’t have missed for $100 a seat. In the course of her wanderings through Chinatown she found the leading man of one of the theaters, and told him she wanted an engagement. They argued and dickered over the terms for a quarter of an hour, she demanding 60 per cent, and the Mongol refusing to pay more than 40 per cent. They jabbered away, she in French and he in Chinese, in the most serious and excited way, everything each one said having to be translated by two interpreters before it was understood by the other. The pantomime, acting, and by-play of the Chinaman were almost equal to her own, and delighted her so much that she clapped her hands enthusiastically and demanded of her leading

“Why can’t you be as natural as that?”

They finally compromised at 45 per cent., and Sarah was shown to her dressing room, whence she soon emerged in Celestial robes. Then she refused to begin unless she had her money in advance—“a la Patti” she expressed it. So a collection was taken up, which amounted to 65 cents. Her 45 per cent, was handed to her, and she announced that she was ready for the orchestra to begin. When the Chinaman explained that the orchestra was scattered around through a dozen or so opium dens, she said it didn’t matter—that she would be her own orchestra.

She had heard the orchestra several years before, when she was first here, and the exhibition she immediately gave of her powers of memory and mimicry was simply wonderful. Sho opened her mouth and let forth a volume of sound that imitated to the life the wailing, jumbled music, and wheezy, halting passages of a Chinese orchestra, and made the two or three Chinamen present hold their sides With laughter, while their eyes stuck out with wonder. Then she sent the house into convulsions with a Chinese dance, keeping up the orchestra at the same time. Even the members of her company, accustomed as they are to her freaks and antics, screamed with delight, stamped and clapped their hands. 

Then she seized a big sword, swung it around her head, and made for the Chinese leading man. Her eyes gleamed, and she made such furious pantomime that he shrank back a little in actual fear. She made one bound toward him, like a tigress, and let out such a howl of rage that he fell backward among tho “props” in abject horror.

After the performance she went all through the quarter, penetrating to all the dirtiest, vilest and most ill-smelling corners, and insisting upon being taken into every hole from which came a worse assortment of odors than usual. She bought a couple of highbinders’ cutlasses, presented one to her leading man, and herself flourished the other in the face of every Chinaman she met. She darted up dark alleys a dozen yards ahead of any one else, even of the guides; she tucked up her skirts and slid down into stinking dives from which every one else fell back, calling to them gleefully to “come on, it was a lovely place,” and altogether led the party such a merry dance than even the men were tired out and hoping that she would desist long before she consented to forego any further explorations. And even then she seemed as tireless, fresh and interested as when they first started out. ...
San Francisco Call (California), July 10, 1891, page 7: 
Loaded to the Gunwale.
In an affidavit presented by Actor Yuen Tow, now on board the Australia, to show his right to land several deponents swore that he is, or rather was, when the deposition was made, “a star of the first magnitude and an artist who need acknowledge no superior anywhere and is expected to return from Honolulu loaded to the gunwale with Hawaiian ballads.” Yuen Tow also claims to have performed for years in the Ann Kwai Yuen Theater, 814 Washington street. He has not yet been landed, though the familiarly worded deposition is considered good. 
Pittsburg Dispatch (Pennsylvania), December 13, 1891, page 21: 
The Stage in China. 
San Francisco Saw the First Almond-Eyed Actress a Few Years Ago.
San Francisco Call (California), February 19, 1893, page 7: Chinese Theaters, 3 illustrations

1894 San Francisco City Directory
Mow Tang & Co. pawnbroker, 836 Washington (address of the defunct Royal Chinese Theater)

The Chautauquan, July 1895, pages 434–442: The Chinese Drama

English Illustrated Magazine, February 1905, pages 483–488: The Chinese Drama in San Francisco

Below: Postcard, circa early 1900s

Below: Postcard postmarked December 14, 1905

Below: Postcard postmarked January 25, 1906

Further Reading
San Francisco Theatres
    626 Jackson Street
    623 Jackson Street
    814 Washington Street
    836 Washington Street

A. E. Zucker; Little, Brown and Company. Boston, 1925

Reel SF: The Mandarin Theatre in “The Lady From Shanghai”

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