Oldest Chinese Laundry in US Closes After 140 Years | NBC 7 San Diego
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Oldest Chinese Laundry in US Closes After 140 Years

Chinese immigrants dominated the laundry business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries after "being excluded from virtually everything else," a historian told NBC News

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    Bob Hsiang Photography
    Jacque Yee, a fourth generation family member to operate Ching Lee Laundry, hugs a long-time customer on October 29, 2016.

    Ching Lee Laundry in California, believed to be the oldest Chinese-owned laundry in the United States, closed shop for the last time Saturday after 140 years of operations by the same family, NBC News reported.

    Longtime customers at the laundry in San Mateo brought flowers, cookies and cards.

    "It deeply saddens me that this era is ending," Jacque Yee, who has managed the shop with her father for the past 30 years, told NBC News.

    Yee's great grand-uncle started the business in 1876. He traveled by horse-drawn carriage to pick up laundry 20 miles away in San Francisco.

    Chinese immigrants dominated the laundry business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries after "being excluded from virtually everything else," John Jung, author of "Chinese Laundries," told NBC News.

    Now one in five people in San Mateo are Asian American, and many of them work in technology.