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In the 1930's Chinese American community leader Peter Soo Hoo Sr. spearheaded initial efforts to create a Chinatown in Los Angeles. The efforts for the design and operational concepts of the area evolved through a collaborative community process resulting in a blend of Chinese and American architecture. During this era the Los Angeles Chinatown experienced major development, especially as a tourist attraction.
The Central Plaza was the focal point of the first major development and was designed as a Hollywood version of Shanghai. The city of Los Angeles along with the community began a two decade project with the hopes that tourism would bring jobs and money to the community. Chinatown was designed by Hollywood film set designers and Cecil B. Demille donated a Chinese set prop to add to the cities newest tourist attraction. There are many famous landmarks located in Chinatown including a large Chinese gateway located at the intersection of Broadway and Cesar E. Chavez, a statue honoring Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in the Central Plaza and Little Joe's Italian American Restaurant located on the corner of Broadway and College.
Located directly north of downtown Los Angeles, between Dodger Stadium and the Civic Center, Chinatown is mainly frequented by tourists and city visitors. During the last several decades Chinatown has been expanded and refurbished to include many of the original buildings that had been abandoned years ago. The original buildings built in the 1930's and 1940's are now used as art galleries and artist lofts. There are many ethnic restaurants located in Chinatown including Cantonese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai. Herbal stores and bazaars are plentiful as well as many cafes, delicatessens and barbecues.