Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, Island of Hawai'i
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is a 175 mile long trail on the Island of Hawai'i dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of the Hawaiian people. Ala kaha kai means "shoreline trail" in the Hawaiian Language and the National Historic Trail contains the oldest and best remaining example of the Ala Loa, the major land route connecting the coastal areas of the island's ahupua'a (traditional land divisions). The trail follows the coastline, passing by hundreds of ancient Hawaiian settlement sites and through over 200 ahupua'a. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is managed by the National Park Service and the State of Hawaii and connects various National Parks on the Island of Hawai'i.
The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail combines three kinds of trails: surviving elements of the ancient long trails, historic post European-contact trails that developed on or parallel to the ancient long trails, and more modern pathways and roads that created links between the ancient and historic trails. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail was established to preserve, protect, reestablish, and maintain the shoreline trails and provide an understanding of the Ancient Hawaiian land management system (ahupua'a).
Over a period of hundreds of years, Ancient Hawaiians developed a sophisticated system of land and resource management known as ahupua'a. These were divisions of narrow wedge-shaped land that ran from the mountains to the sea. The size of an ahupua`a depended on the resources of the area and was controlled by an ali'i (chief) and administered by a konohiki (land manager). The ahupua'a provided cultivated and natural resources to support the people as well as contribute to the support of the royal community in the islands.
In ancient Hawaii, access to the resources of the ahupua'a was restricted to the residents living in a particular division. Outsiders or visitors were permitted to use the ahupuaa resources as long as they obtained permission. Residents also had rights to use specific field plots and house lots. In communities with long-term royal residents, divisions of labor developed and were strictly adhered to by people living in the ahupua'a.
From the pre-European contact period to the 1800s, canoes and the trail systems were the primary means of getting around the Island of Hawai'i. The trails linked the 600 ahupua'a in the 6 districts of the Island of Hawai'i. These were narrow single-file footpaths that followed the topography of the land and were often paved with water-worn stones. Although the canoe was the principal means of transportation in the islands, extensive cross-island trail networks allowed for the gathering of food and water, religious observances, and the harvesting of materials for shelter, clothing, and medicine. These trails facilitated trade between upland and coastal communities as well as communication between the residents of an ahupua'a and their extended families. Chiefs used them to send messengers, to summon warriors for battle, and as a way to travel in times of war. Tax collectors also used the trails during the Makahiki, a ritual spanning four months, from October or November to January or February depending on the seasons. During this period, a procession of priests would carry a wooden statue of Lono (God of Agriculture) around the island for a period of 23 days to collect taxes and tribute.
After Captain James Cook became the first European explorer to establish western contact with the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, horses were introduced to the islands. By the 1840s, horses, mules, and bullocks had become the main form of transportation in the islands and many of the ancient trails had their stones removed to keep the animals from slipping. Eventually, wider, straighter trails were built to accommodate horse-drawn carts. These later trails often bypassed the older trails as more remote coastal villages became depopulated due to disease and changing economic and social systems. In some cases the new trails overlapped or realigned the older trails. Trails were also relocated as a result of natural events such as lava flows and tsunamis.
The Ala Kahakai was very significant to Hawaiis first king, Kamehameha I, who was born near the trail at Kohala on the northern tip of the island. Seeking to unite the Hawaiian Islands, Kamehameha began by consolidating his rule of the Island of Hawai'i along the trail in 1791. He eventually united all of the Hawaiian Islands and established the Kingdom of Hawai'i in 1810.
In 1819, Kamehameha I was succeeded by his son Kamehameha II who is best remembered for abolishing the kapu system. Kapu was the Hawaiian system of religious, political, and social laws that governed every aspect of daily life and was particularly restrictive. Six months after his fathers death, Kamehameha II sat down at the womens table during a feast at Kamakahonu and ate with them, an act strictly forbidden under kapu. Messengers were then sent to the other islands announcing that the kapu system was at an end. This event came to be called 'Ai Noa (free eating) and shook Hawaiian culture to its foundations, prompting resistance from other chiefs.
Kamehameha I's nephew Kekuaokalani, himself a chief, was a traditionalist who wanted to keep the kapu system in place. He was asked by several other chiefs to lead their armies in an armed rebellion to restore kapu. In December 1819, they marched from Ka'awaloa at Kealakekua Bay along the Ala Kahakai and met the royal army in an area known as Lekeleke in the ahupua'a of Kuamo'o. The Battle at Kuamo'o was decisive, with over 300 warriors killed including Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono, who were buried under lava rock cairns on the battlefield. Today the site, known as the Kuamo'o Burials, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In the 1820s, Governor Kuakini and Chiefess Kapi'olani instituted a program of public works on the Island of Hawai'i. The development of existing trails and new western-style roads was initiated to facilitate access to mission stations, landings, and key areas of resource collection. Trails were widened to accommodate a single horse and many were lined with curbstones. In the 1830s, island-wide improvements were made to the Ala Kahakai and beginning in the 1840s, a formal program established government roads. Eventually criteria were developed for widening the trails to accommodate two horses, realigning the trails with an emphasis on areas with larger populations, and building newer straighter trails located inland. Population decline led to the abandonment of many of the ancient trails.
In the 1890s, steps were taken to protect the ancient trails in support of citizens who lived in remote locations. Queen Lili'uokalani enacted what is known as the Highways Act of 1892, one of the last bills she signed into law before the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. Through the Act, all roads, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, courts, places, trails, and bridges in the Hawaiian Islands, whether laid out or built by the Government or by private parties, were declared to be public highways and were owned by the Government. This protected the ancient trails and ensured their survival. The Act is still in place today in the State of Hawaii.
The Ala Kahakai became a part of the National Trails system in 2000. The National Historic Trail preserves the portion of the Ala Kahakai extending from Upolu Point on the northern tip of the Island of Hawai'i, down the west coast of the island toKae Lae (South Point) and east to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail reflects a Hawaiian concept of trails as a network connecting ahupua`a, settlements, and places of importance to the Hawaiian people.
Plan your visit
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is located on the Island of Hawai'i and is managed by the National Park Service and the State of Hawaii. The trail can be accessed through sections within the four National Parks on the island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Pu'uhonua National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, and Pu'ukohola National Historic Park and through the state trail managed by Na Ala Hele (State of Hawaii Trail and Access Program). For more information visit the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail website or call 808-326-6012return to top
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, Bainbridge Island, Washington
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a unit of Minidoka National Historic Site, commemorates the first instance in the United States where people of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II,and sent to relocation centers in remote areas of the country. This memorial serves to honor those who were removed and the neighbors who stood by them. It also serves as a reminding hope that this dark moment in our nations history not be repeated Nidoto Nai Yoni (Let It Not Happen Again).
Bainbridge Island, located in eastern Washington's Puget Sound near the city of Seattle, was first inhabited by the Suquamish Tribe who lived and hunted on the island. The area was "discovered" by Europeans when Captain George Vancouver anchored off the island in 1792. Its rich old-growth forests and deep-water harbors eventually attracted entrepreneurs who developed a thriving lumber industry during the mid-19th century. Japanese immigrants first began arriving on the island in the 1880's to work in the lumber mills, forming the village of Yama near the Port Blakely Mill.
Strawberry farming was introduced to the island in 1908 by the Moritani family. In fact, most of the early berry farms were operated by Japanese immigrants, who leased their farm land as a way to circumvent prohibitive alien land laws. In time, Nissei (second generation, American-born citizens) were able to buy and own land either for themselves or on behalf of their families. By 1940, the island's largest industry was strawberry farming, which produced two million pounds of fruit a year.
Bainbridge Island was dotted with small communities made up of fishermen, farmers, businessmen, and wealthy families from Seattle who had their summer homes on the island. The various European and Asian immigrant groups on the island had become more integrated, and the Bainbridge High School, the only secondary school on the island, taught all of the island's children between 7th and 12th grades.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A day later, the United States declared war on Japan. Within the weeks and months following the bombing, , the government began arresting people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast of the United States.
During the 1930s, the FBI and the Department of Justice began compiling lists of names focusing primarily on people involved with Nazi, Communist, and Fascist organizations in the U.S. The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), concerned both about the rise of Japan as a military power and the safety of U.S. naval bases on the West also began to compile lists of individuals and organizations they considered a threat. The majority of people on the ONI list were Japanese Americans living near U.S. naval facilities. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, authorities began ordering the arrest of all persons named on these lists.
On February 4, 1942, the FBI, along with Washington State Police, and the Kitsap County sheriff's office, entered and searched every Japanese home on Bainbridge Island. Thirty-four men and one woman were arrested and questioned. Most were let go; however, 13 men were incarcerated in Department of Justice camps, and were not released until the end of the war.
In the weeks following the attack, General John L. DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense Command, had become concerned that people of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast were conspiring against the U.S. He recommended that they be removed from western coastal areas. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed, issuing Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, which authorized the establishment of military areas encompassing most of the West Coast of the U.S. "from which any or all persons [of Japanese ancestry] may be excluded."
On March 24, 1942, General DeWitt issued Proclamation No.1 designating the western portions of Washington, Oregon, and California, and the southern half of Arizona as Military Area No. 1. Under Executive Order 9066, he ordered the removal of people of Japanese ancestry from those areas. Because of Bainbridge Island's close proximity to U.S. naval facilities on Puget Sound, General DeWitt also ordered the immediate removal of all Japanese Americans living on the island. The island's residents were the first people of Japanese ancestry to be forcibly removed from their homes and were given six days to sell or lease their farms and businesses, pack their personal belongings, and make arrangements to house their pets and store any other items of value.
On March 30, 1942, 227 men, women, and children, two-thirds of them American citizens, were taken by Army transport to the Eagledale ferry dock on Bainbridge Island. Many of the island's non-Japanese residents came to say good-bye to their neighbors and watch as they boarded a ferry for Seattle. Once on the mainland, the Bainbridge Islanders boarded a train for the Owens Valley Reception Center, an assembly center in California eventually renamed Manzanar Relocation Center. A year later, most of the Bainbridge Islanders requested transfers from Manzanar to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho to join other incarcerees from Seattle and other areas of the Pacific Northwest.
While the Island's Japanese residents were incarcerated in the relocation centers, the local island newspaper, The Bainbridge Review, which was owned and edited by island residents Milly and Walt Woodward, wrote articles questioning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 and in support of the island's Japanese community. The paper also published reports from its Japanese American field reporters, Bainbridge Island high school students incarcerated in Manzanar and Minidoka. The Woodwards worked to support their Japanese American friends and neighbors, and to ensure that they would have a smooth transition back into their island community at the end of the war.
After the war, over 65 percent of the Japanese residents of Bainbridge Island returned to their homes on the island to resume their lives, a higher percentage than in many other pre-war Japanese American communities in the U.S.
In 1982, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that the U.S. government's contention during World War II that the forced removal of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast was necessary for military reasons was false. The Commission's report, Personal Justice Denied, stated that rather than military necessity, "The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act and apologized to people of Japanese ancestry, saying, "here, we admit a wrong." The Act authorized redress of $20,000 to any Japanese American who had been incarcerated during WWII.
Today, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is situated near the water on the former location of the Eagledale ferry dock. The memorial commemorates the internment during World War II of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge. Visitors enter the Memorial through a traditional Japanese gate and walk along a path to view the outdoor Story Wall made of local cedar. The wall has survivor quotes, name plaques of those who were removed from the island, panels, and a series of terra cotta friezes depicting the story of the exclusion. In addition, visitors can walk through the landscape around the memorial, which was designed with native plants.
Plan your visit
The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a unit of Minidoka National Historic Site, is located at Pritchard Park, 4192 Eagle Harbor Dr., Bainbridge Island, WA. The site is open year round and there is no admission fee. Special arrangements can be made 3-4 weeks in advance for a guided tour of the memorial through the Bainbridge Island Historical Society. Also on the island is the Haiku No Niwa, a Japanese garden at the Bainbridge Public Library designed and planted by the island's Japanese American community as a tribute to their ancestors. For more information about the Memorial, visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community website or call 206-842-2773.return to top
Bodie Historic District, Bodie, California
Bodie Historic District, the best-preserved ghost town from the California Gold Rush, is located 7 miles south of Bridgeport, California at an elevation of 8,379 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Now in a state of arrested decay, Bodie is an excellent example of an American West boomtown and the accompanying lifestyle that developed in the western mining towns. As part of the California Gold Rush, many Chinese came to live and work in Bodie during its early years. More than 100 historic buildings remain in the district to convey what life in Bodie was like between its founding in 1859 and its end in 1942, when mining was suspended and the last Bodie residents left the town.
Gold was discovered in the Mono Lake region of California in 1852, and placer gold was discovered at the future site of Bodie in the Mono Basin in July 1859. William S. Bodey and E.S. Taylor discovered the gold, staked their claim in the harsh high desert environment, and established camp. Bodey died during a snowstorm in the winter of 1859-1860 on a supply trip, and the Bodie Mining District organized in 1860 in his honor. The town remained relatively small with fewer than 20 buildings until the Bunker Hill Mine discovered large deposits of gold and silver at Bodie in 1876. This bonanza resulted in a population boom as people streamed into Bodie in search of riches. By 1879, the town had grown to over 250 buildings and 10,000 residents, encompassing houses, a school, a Wells Fargo bank, four volunteer fire companies, hotels, a jail, cemeteries, stores, churches, newspapers, a mortuary, and other structures that supported the large community. Main Street lengthened to over a mile of densely populated one and two story buildings. The total estimated output of the Bodie mines between 1876 and 1941 was $70 million, with the high point being 1879. Shortly thereafter the promises of riches from newer mines started to lure Bodie's residents away.
By the 1880's, the city had developed a tough reputation, even spawning a popular expression "a bad man from Bodie," which meant someone who was unusually unpleasant. With the boom came breweries, saloons, brothels, a popular red light district, and gambling dens, which led to an increase in nightly shootings, stabbings, and brawls. The city developed a special notoriety for its overly violent residents. It was even infamous with children, one of whom wrote in their diary, "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie."
Many Chinese immigrants came to Bodie from Southern China as contract laborers in 1878. They settled on the outskirts of the town in a Chinese community, or "Chinatown," northwest of Main and King Streets. The Chinese residents of Bodie faced discrimination in the local mines, which forced them to turn to service occupations for employment. They operated laundries, peddled vegetables (shipped in by express), supplied charcoal, and provided most of the wood used in the town. Bodie's Chinatown was made up of two and three story wooden buildings and included general stores, homes, laundries, boarding houses, a restaurant, opium dens, a Taoist temple, saloons, and gambling establishments. Newspaper accounts depicted a thriving community and mentioned Chinese New Year's celebrations and large funerals. At its peak in 1880, several hundred Chinese lived in Bodie's Chinatown.
Bodie's slow decline began in 1879 and, as was typical in 19th century mining communities, continued with a series of booms and busts for the next several decades. As the supply of mineable material became scarce, people began to leave the area. By 1886, Bodie's population had fallen to approximately 1,500 residents. A fire in July 1892, destroyed a large section of Main Street, but a rebuilt business district on a smaller scale adapted to the needs of the city. Several of the surviving buildings still located on Main Street were probably moved from another part of Bodie to their present location after the 1892 fire. Another fire destroyed parts of the Main Street business district downtown in June 1932. The War Production Board suspended mining operations in 1942, and the last residents of Bodie left shortly thereafter.
After its abandonment, its location and isolation from the outside world helped preserve Bodie as one of the best examples of mining ghost towns in the West. Bodie became a National Historic Landmark District in 1961 and a State Historic Park in 1962. Today, 110 buildings still stand in and around the town and building interiors remain as they were left, still stocked with goods and furniture. Bodie Historic District is in a state of arrested decay, with its buildings and other aspects of the community left as they were when residents abandoned the community to its past.
Plan your visit
Bodie Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Bodie, CA and the Bodie State Historic Park. Click here for the National Historic Landmark file: text. Bodie State Historic Park, administered by the Bodie Foundation, is open daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm from May 15 to October 31. From November 1 to May 14, the site is open from 9:00am to 3:00pm. The site is closed during periods of inclement weather. Park hours can vary seasonally depending on the weather, so call the Park when planning your visit. Park closure hours are strictly enforced to protect the historic structures and artifacts. For more information, visit the Bodie State Historic Park website, the Bodie Foundation website, or call the Park at 760-647-6445.
Bodie Historic District is featured in the National Park Service publication Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California and has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.return to top
Butte-Anaconda Historic District, Anaconda, Butte, and Walkerville, Montana
The Butte-Anaconda Historic District in Montana includes the communities of Butte, Anaconda, and Walkerville as well as the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railroad. This was one of the most productive mining regions in the United States, and the source of nearly one third of the entire world's copper in the early 1900s. Known as the "Gibraltar of Unionism," Butte was also one of the centers of the U.S. labor movement. The Butte-Anaconda Historic District showcases the industrialization of the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the response of organized labor to this rapid growth.
Butte was founded as a mining town after the discovery of silver in the region in 1872, but was known primarily for its copper production - the highest output in the U.S. - giving it the nickname the "Richest Hill on Earth." In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, demand for copper grew rapidly due to the development of new technologies such as electricity. This demand reached a high point during World War I, when copper was used for the manufacture of ammunition. Mining areas historically pass through an evolution of boom, dramatic growth, and then decline or "bust." Copper continued to be mined in and around Butte through the 20th century, declining during the Great Depression in the 1930s, picking up during World War II, and declining again until it ceased in the 1980s when the largest mining company in the area, ARCO, closed its entire Montana operation including the mines in Butte and the smelting facility in Anaconda.
While many mining companies operated in the Butte area throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the largest and most powerful was the Anaconda Mining Company. Marcus Daly, one of the famed "Copper Kings," formed the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company in 1899. Daly's battles with Montana's other Copper Kings resulted in his company acquiring most of the mines in the area, giving "The Company" a virtual monopoly over mining in and around Butte and dominance over copper production in the U.S. By the 1900s the Anaconda Mining Company was one of the largest mining companies in the world, and retained that position until 1977 when it was sold to Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).
A strong counterforce to the company's monopoly was organized labor. Mining underground paid well, but was hard dangerous work. Between 1906 and 1925, 685 miners in the Butte area died and hundreds more were injured or disabled in accidents. In addition, whenever money was needed for new equipment or profits dropped, management either cut wages or refused to pay workers. The first labor strike in the Butte area took place in Walkerville in 1878, when workers at two mines refused to accept a pay cut. They formed the Butte Workingmen's Union, based on the miners unions in the Comstock mining district in Nevada. In 1893, the Western Federation of Miners was formed in Butte, followed in 1905, by the Industrial Workers of the World and later the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). By the early 20th century, 34 different unions represented over 18,000 workers including miners, construction workers, brewers, mill workers, carpenters, teamsters, restaurant workers, bartenders, musicians, and newsboys. Butte's industries and businesses were effectively a closed shop and would stay that way, on and off, until the 1980s.
Chinese immigrants began coming to the Butte area in 1868, with the establishment of the first placer gold mines. Eventually forced out of mining, the Chinese settled on the perimeter of Butte and began to open various businesses to support the local community. In the early 1880s, a Chinese immigrant named Ing Pong constructed a log cabin just west of Main Street next to the "red light" district, and a centralized Chinatown began to form. Over time Butte's Chinatown expanded to include the area between South Colorado, West Galena, South Main, and West Mercury Streets. The heart of Chinatown, known as China Alley, was a narrow passageway that ran through the middle of the block from West Galena Street to West Mercury Street. Chinese businesses such as herb shops, noodle parlors, laundries, and mercantiles were in a central location in and around China Alley.
Economic depressions in the 1870s and 1890s heightened anti-Chinese tensions across the U.S. Labor unions became the primary force behind anti-Chinese sentiments in both Butte and Anaconda. Fears of economic competition and cultural differences along with racial prejudice helped to create an unwritten understanding between organized labor and company owners that Chinese laborers would not work in the underground mines, the smelters, or join local unions. In 1884, the unions ordered Chinese immigrants to leave Butte with little success, and a boycott of Chinese-owned businesses in 1891-92 failed due to lack of public support. Another boycott in 1893 also failed in Butte, but was a relative success in Anaconda, as many of the town's Chinese residents left for friendlier locations.
In 1896, the labor unions and the Butte Chamber of Commerce called for a boycott of both Chinese and Japanese-owned businesses and businesses employing Chinese or Japanese immigrants. A group of 130 businessmen led by Hum Fay, owner of the Palace Restaurant, Dr. Huie Pock, and merchant Quon Loy sued the labor unions in Federal court. In Hum Fay, et al. v. Baldwin, also known as the Chinese Boycott Case, the plaintiffs asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for an injunction to stop the boycott. The court found in favor of the Chinese plaintiffs and ordered the unions to end the boycott and pay $1,750 in legal fees and expenses. While Chinese and Japanese-owned businesses did not recoup any of the estimated $500,000 in lost revenue caused by the boycott, the ruling did ensure that there were no further organized actions against Chinese and Japanese businesses or workers.
In the early 1890s, the Wah Chong Tai Company, Seattle's oldest mercantile, opened a franchise in Butte on West Galena Street, eventually moving, in 1898, to a new multi-story brick building on the corner of West Mercury Street and China Alley. The mercantile was on the ground floor with an herbal shop at the back and a restaurant on the second floor. The Wah Chong Tai Company helped to anchor Butte's Chinatown and played an important role in the Chinese community. It was a meeting place where people would go for social interaction, to complete financial transactions, and to find lodgings, translators, and jobs.
In 1909, the Wah Chong Tai Company constructed a two-story brick building next door. The new building contained two storefronts on the first floor separated by an entrance to the new Mai Wah Noodle Parlor on the second floor. The building also had a "cheater story," a floor between the first and second stories that was divided into small rooms with six foot ceilings. These were commonly used as retail shops and lodgings.
Another prominent business in Chinatown, the Pekin Noodle Parlor owned by Hum Yow, a well-known businessman, was moved in 1911, from its previous location on West Mercury Street to the second floor of a new brick building on South Main Street. The first floor of the building had two storefronts, one of which housed Hum Yow's Chinese Goods and Silks store and the basement, which was made up of multiple small rooms, at one time had a Keno parlor. Hum Yow and his wife Bessie Wong, both California-born first-generation Americans, occupied the living quarters in the back of the building, eventually raising three children in Chinatown. The Pekin Noodle Parlor building was also the home of the Chinese Mason's lodge as well as a gathering place for newly arriving Chinese immigrants.
Similar to Butte, Anaconda had a Chinatown that provided goods and services to its small Chinese community. The town of Anaconda, located west of Butte along the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railroad, was formed in 1883 as a company-owned town to support the nearby copper smelting/refinery facility Marcus Daly, owner of the Anaconda Mining Company, opened. The location of Chinatown was along Birch Street, between Front Street and East Park Avenue, on the edge of the commercial district. Two of the first businesses in Chinatown were the Sing Lee Laundry on Birch Street and the Tri Yeun Company grocery on East Park Avenue. There were also small log cabin residences on Front Street, communal gardens east of Birch Street, and, just as in Butte, noodle parlors, laundries, restaurants, produce stores, and various shops.
Early 20th century Progressive movements in Butte helped contribute to the decline of its Chinatown. Citing health and safety concerns, the city tore down many of the old wood frame buildings in Chinatown and the neighboring "red light" district. The newly cleared lots were rebuilt with automobile showrooms, service stations, and parking garages. By 1940, between 70 and 80 Chinese remained in Butte, down from an estimated high of 2,500. During World War II, many Chinese residents left for war-related jobs in cities on the west coast. As people sold their Chinatown property, the neighborhood lost its Chinese characteristics.
Today, the Butte-Anaconda Historic District is a well preserved reminder of the town's mining prosperity. Many of the buildings and mining structures in the district retain their historic integrity and show the architecture associated with the development of a western mining economy. The Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and Wah Chung Tai buildings are preserved and house a museum that interprets the Asian experience in Montana. The Pekin Noodle Parlor is still located in its original building on South Main Street and is considered one of the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurants in the U.S. Walking tours and self-guided tours of the Butte-Anaconda Historic District are available and give visitors the opportunity to see not only the historic architecture in Butte and Anaconda, but also inactive copper mines, remnants of one of the most successful mining towns in America.
Plan your visit
The Butte-Anaconda Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District, is located in the communities of Walkerville, Butte, and Anaconda in Montana. Click here for the National Historic Landmark file: text. The city of Butte is the largest of the three communities in the district, with Walkerville located directly to the north of Butte and Anaconda 24 miles to the west off of Interstate 90. The District encompasses 9,774 acres and includes 6,015 buildings, sites, structures, and the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railroad (BA & P). Butte's Chinatown is represented by the Mai Wah Noodle Parlor building (Mai Wah Society Museum) and the Wah Chung Tai Mercantile at 17 W Mercury St., and the Pekin Noodle Parlor at 117 S Main St. For more information, visit the Butte Montana Convention & Visitors Bureau website or call 406-723-3177. To see buildings and sites within the District, visit the Butte-Anaconda National Historic Landmark District website.
Many components of the Butte-Anaconda Historic District have been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record, including: the Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and Wah Chung Tai Company, Pekin Noodle Parlor, Anaconda Historic District, Butte Historic District, Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway: General Offices, Butte Mineyards, Butte Mineyards: Stewart Mine, and the Butte Mineyards: Anselmo Mine.return to top
Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) Site, Delta, Utah
The Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) Site, also referred to as the Topaz Relocation Center or Topaz, was located in west central Utah just north of the town of Delta and 140 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Topaz was one of 10 relocation centers constructed in the United States during World War II for the purpose of detaining Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent. More than 11,000 people passed through the center and, at its peak, it housed over 8,000 internees. Today, the Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) Site consists of two monuments, building foundations, roads, gravel walkways, agricultural buildings, portions of the perimeter fence, and landscaping.
After Japan's devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, led to the United States' entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. The Order authorized the establishment of military areas encompassing most of the West Coast of the United States, "from which any or all persons may be excluded." This allowed for the removal from these areas of Japanese Americans and those of Japanese ancestry, out of fear that these individuals might support Japan in the war. In March 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9102, which established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), the federal agency responsible for the evacuation, relocation, and internment of Japanese Americans and the construction and administration of relocation centers throughout the United States. The U.S. military supported Executive Order 9066 by assembling and transporting the evacuees. Through Executive Order 9066 came Proclamation No.1, initially a policy of voluntary participation to relocate that soon became mandatory forcing some 120,000 Japanese Americans and those of Japanese ancestry to move to 10 inland relocation centers across the nation.
Construction of the 19,800-acre Central Utah Relocation Center began in July of 1942, continuing through January of 1943. The center was built in the Sevier Desert in central Utah, a dry, windy environment with harsh winters that was entirely new to the internees, most of whom were from the San Francisco, California area. The relocation center was initially named the Central Utah Relocation Center and then the Abraham Relocation Center before finally becoming the Topaz War Relocation Center, named after nearby Topaz Mountain.
The Central Utah Relocation Center officially opened on September 11, 1942. The camp had a one square mile central area consisting of 42 blocks with 12 barracks in each, housing 250 to 300 internees. Each block also had a recreation room, combination washroom-toilet-laundry building, a central dining hall, and an office for the block manager. The barracks were constructed of pine planks covered with tarpaper with sheetrock on the inside walls for insulation. Each barrack unit was simply furnished with pot-bellied stoves, army cots, blankets, and mattress covers. The barracks were barely ready when the evacuees moved into the center and many of them helped to finish the construction and built their own furniture. Thousands of trees and shrubs were planted throughout the developed area of the camp and internees engaged in extensive landscaping of the barracks areas. The relocation center eventually consisted of 623 buildings including two elementary schools, one junior/senior high school, a hospital, a church, seven watch towers, a perimeter fence, and a sentry post.
Of the 10 relocation centers, Topaz was considered a "quieter" center. The greatest unrest, including organized protests, happened in April 1943 as a result of the shooting death of 63-year-old internee James Hatsuki Wakasa by a military guard. Wakasa was walking near the perimeter fence and was either distracted or unable to hear or understand the guard's warnings. After this and another incident a month later, when a guard fired at a couple strolling too close to the fence, security regulations at Topaz were reevaluated. The center administration restricted the military's use of weapons and access to Topaz and security was relaxed. Internees were able to get permission to leave the camp for recreational activities and jobs in the nearby town of Delta.
Two internees held at Topaz, Fred C. Korematsu and Mitsuye Endo, were involved in landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases during the war. The cases challenged the constitutionality of the exclusion, relocation, and incarceration of Japanese Americans. At the beginning of the war Fred Korematsu, a native-born U.S. citizen of Japanese descent, refused to follow Executive Order 9066 and continued to live and work in California, which was within a military exclusion zone. Korematsu was arrested, tried, and convicted for violating Public Law No. 503, which criminalized violations of military orders issued under Executive Order 9066. Fred Korematsu appealed the conviction stating that the Executive Order was unconstitutional and a violation of the Fifth Amendment. In Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Supreme Court ruled against Korematsu finding that, while the constitutionality of compulsory exclusion as stated in the Executive Order was suspect, the government's need to protect against espionage during time of war outweighed Korematsu's individual rights, and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent.
Unlike Korematsu's case, Mitsuye Endo's dealt only with the incarceration of Japanese Americans. In 1943, Mitsuye Endo, a native-born U.S. citizen of Japanese descent, was contacted by civil liberties lawyer James Purcell about serving as a test case to challenge incarceration in relocation centers. Endo, who had worked for the State of California, had been dismissed from her job and sent to Tule Lake Relocation Center and then to Topaz. She agreed to serve as a test case and Purcell filed a writ of habeas corpus on her behalf stating that "she is a loyal and law-abiding citizen of the United States, that no charge has been made against her, that she is being unlawfully detained, and that she is confined in the Relocation Center under armed guard and held there against her will." Purcell asked that Endo be either charged with a crime or released from incarceration. The U.S. Government agreed that Endo was loyal and law-abiding and also that she was not being detained on any charge or suspected of disloyalty. Because they were concerned that the courts would find the detention of Japanese Americans unconstitutional and also to keep the case from proceeding any further, the government offered to release Mitsuye Endo as long as she agreed not to return to the West Coast. Endo refused and her case proceeded to the Supreme Court. In Ex Parte Mitsuye Endo (1944), the Supreme Court held that "admittedly loyal" citizens could not be deprived of their liberty and held in relocation centers. The decision effectively ended the incarceration of Japanese Americans.
After the Ex Parte Mitsuye Endo decision, many internees were eligible to leave Topaz freely and when the war ended in August 1945, internees began returning to their homes in California. The Central Utah Relocation Center was closed on October 31, 1945. Following the closing of the camp, many of the structures were sold or taken away to nearby educational facilities and most of what remained was torn down. In 1976, the Japanese-American Citizens League erected a stone monument near the camp site. In 1991, the Topaz Museum Board was formed and began to work to preserve the relocation center site. The preservation process included purchasing part of the site and maintaining the existing guard towers, utility poles, water towers, and agricultural buildings. Today, there are two monuments located at the site. One of the monuments was dedicated in August 2002, replacing the stone monument that was installed in 1976. The other monument was installed in 2005, in memory of the Japanese Americans incarcerated at Topaz who served in World War II.
Plan your visit
The Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) Site, a National Historic Landmark, is located on West 4500 North, 15 miles northwest of Delta, UT. Click here for the National Historic Landmark file: text. The Central Utah Relocation Center (Topaz) Site is open year round for self-guided tours. In addition, a self-guided tour is available of camp buildings that were moved to the town of Delta, UT after World War II. Guided tours of the Relocation Center site are offered by appointment only through the Topaz Museum. Visitors may contact the museum directly to schedule a tour. For more information, visit the Topaz Museum website.
The Central Utah Relocation Center/Topaz Relocation Center is featured in the National Historic Landmark Theme Study Japanese Americans in World War II.return to top
Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District, New York, New York
The Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District is located in downtown New York City. The Chinatown neighborhood was formed from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, a dynamic period in American history when waves of immigrants from all corners of the world came to New York seeking opportunity. Immigration to New York City far outweighed that in any other city in the United States and New York Citys Chinatown eventually became the largest Chinatown in the U.S.
Before the 1800s, immigration from Asia to the U.S. was minimal. During the 19th century, however, the U.S. experienced mass migrations of immigrants from several Asian countries, particularly China. Multiple factors triggered this large-scale immigration. In 1848, gold was discovered in California and throughout the 1850s Chinese were recruited as a major source of labor for the mines. Many Chinese also immigrated during this period to escape the Taiping Rebellion, a large-scale civil war that encompassed most of Southern China. In the 1860s, Chinese were recruited in large numbers from both China and the U.S. western mining industry to help build the Central Pacific Railroad's portion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
By the 1870s, the U.S. economy was in a post-Civil War decline. The country experienced a series of economic crises starting with the Panic of 1873. The deflation and depression that followed caused wage levels to fall and many Americans to lose their jobs. In the West, white laborers found themselves competing for scarce jobs with Chinese immigrants who would work for lower wages. This led to rising resentment among the white population. Political and labor leaders began to use Chinese immigrants as scapegoats, blaming them for declining wages and high unemployment, and accusing them of being morally corrupt. Mob violence and rampant discrimination began to drive many Chinese immigrants east to larger cities such as New York, where there were more job opportunities and the population was more diverse.
During the 1870s, the Chinese in New York City began to concentrate around Mott Street south of Canal Street. Many Chinese men left wives to come to America, hoping to get rich and return later. As the Chinese quarter started growing the residents, almost exclusively men, began to form various social societies. These societies along with native place and family associations became an important lifeline for the residents of Chinatown.
By 1880, Chinatown was home to between 700 and 1,100 Chinese immigrants. The passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which restricted Chinese immigration, slowed Chinatowns growth. The U.S. Congress passed other exclusionary laws aimed at Chinese immigrants between 1888 and 1902, effectively reducing the number of Chinese entering the country.
By the 1890s, Mott and Pell streets were lined with Chinese restaurants, which became popular with the non-Chinese residents of New York City. Joss houses, an American name for incense-filled Taoist shrines, were a fixture in Chinatown. In 1893, Actor Chu Fong opened the Chinese Opera House at 5-7 Doyers Street, the first Chinese-language theater east of San Francisco. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) purchased the building at 16 Mott Street, and this was considered the city hall of Chinatown. The organization meditated disputes, acted as middlemen in business transactions, and advocated for the rights of Chinese and Chinese Americans.
By the 1920s, the Chinese population of New York City was running a substantial food industry, with Chinese farmers on Long island growing traditional produce such as bitter melons, long beans, and mustard greens and trucking the produce into Chinatown daily. By 1930, over 4,000 Chinese were living in Chinatown.
The various Chinese exclusion laws were lifted in the 1940s and China was given a small immigration quota allowing Chinatown to continue to grow. In the early 1950s, an urban renewal project, the China Village Plan, threatened to destroy Chinatowns historic core, replacing the businesses and residences with a large-scale housing project. Community advocates fought the plan, which would have destroyed the local Chinatown economy, and it was abandoned.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 overturned the immigration quota system, allowing many more immigrants from Asia into the U.S. A new wave of Chinese immigrants began to settle in Chinatown and the population increased dramatically. The influx of new residents helped Chinatown expand its boundaries from its historic seven-block area around Mott and Mulberry Streets to an estimated 55-block area from the East River to City Hall and from St. James Place to north of Canal Street, eradicating the traditional dividing line between Little Italy and Chinatown. Buildings in Little Italy were turned into garment factories and offices and the rents in Chinatown became some of the highest in New York City.
The rapidly growing Chinese community continued to expand well beyond its historical boundaries, and by 1980 the Chinese community in New York City (including neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens) was the largest in the country, surpassing the one in San Francisco. The Italian population of Little Italy contracted dramatically starting in the 1950s, when, like so many Americans, large numbers of the middle and upper classes moved to the growing suburbs. Little Italy has contracted in size, having been overtaken by Chinatown from the South, and today its core is centered around Mulberry Street, with its numerous cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and annual festivals.
The predominant building type in Chinatown is the mid-19th through early 20th century tenement. There are also Federal and Greek Revival townhouses, factories, loft buildings, utility buildings, club houses, former stables, churches, and schools. From the early 1820s until 1837, a frenzy of bank lending and real estate investment coincided with a steadily growing immigrant population in need of housing. Tenement buildings became the dominant form of housing in New York City from the 1820s to the 1920s. These buildings are predominantly flat-roofed and square with small often windowless apartments. The buildings had fire escapes which the residents would sleep on during the hot summer months.
New York's Chinatown was built by modifying the buildings that existed there to conform to Chinese uses and tastes. From the 1880s a number of older tenement buildings were altered using Chinese ornaments and architectural design. One example is the CCBA building at 16 Mott Street, considered to be the first genuine Chinese building in New York. The building is a renovated Federal style townhouse, enlarged to accommodate the CCBA in 1888. A new wave of Chinese modifications to tenements took place from 1920-1950. The most common feature of these modifications was a second-story porch carved out of the building as a retrofitted terrace. Bold plaques in Chinese are affixed to the front of important buildings such as mutual aid societies and benevolent associations. Scaled-down Chinese pagoda-style porch roofs were also common in this period.
Todays Chinatown is a tightly packed sprawling neighborhood that continues to grow. It is both a tourist attraction and home to a majority of New York Citys Chinese population. Visitors today will experience a living Chinese-American community bustling with restaurants, booming fruit and fish markets, residences, and various businesses and shops, a testament to an historic and still thriving immigrant community.
Plan your visit
The Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is located in New York, NY. The district is roughly bounded by Baxter Street, Center Street, Cleveland Place and Lafayette Street to the west, Jersey Street and East Hudson to the north; Elizabeth Street to the east and Worth Street to the south. Click here for the National Register of Historic Places file: text and photos. For more information, visit the New York Chinatown website.return to top
Chinatown Historic District, Honolulu, Hawaii
Chinatown Historic District is a commercial and residential district in the heart of downtown Honolulu, on the Island of Oahu. With a few exceptions, the majority of the buildings in Chinatown date from after 1900, when a large fire destroyed most of the district. The Chinatown Historic District is the largest area in the city that still recalls a historic sense of time and place. The neighborhood has retained its historic buildings and its identity as a community over the years while the population has evolved to reflect a colorful blend of cultures.
Chinatown was established during the 1840s and 1850s, in an area along Honolulu Harbor southwest of the freshwater Nu'uanu Stream. Whaling ships arrived in Honolulu every Spring and Fall and the harbor was one of the busiest areas of the growing city. As whaling began to decline, the sugar plantations became the main industry in the islands recruiting Chinese laborers in large numbers starting in the early 1850s and signing them to 5-year contracts. After their work contracts expired, many Chinese immigrants moved to Honolulu's Chinatown to work for existing businesses or open ones of their own. As Honolulu grew, Ancient Hawaiian fishponds along the harbor area were filled in and Nu'uanu Stream was channeled at its mouth, allowing the harbor area to expand and with it Chinatown, which eventually covered 35 acres.
By 1882, Chinatown was a thriving commercial district serving its own population as well as the larger Honolulu community. Because Chinatown was close to the harbor, many newly arriving immigrants used the stores and restaurants in the district as gathering places to find friends and relatives, establish contacts, and learn where to find jobs. The businesses in Chinatown eventually became the second-largest employer of Chinese immigrants after the sugar plantations. In 1886, a fire began at a restaurant in the district and quickly spread. The fire burned for three days and by the time it was put out it had destroyed eight building blocks. Chinatown was quickly rebuilt, but the new construction ignored regulations designed to prevent future fires.
By the late 1890s, many of the buildings in Chinatown were crowded wooden commercial, residential, and mixed use structures with little sanitation and rat infestations from the nearby harbor. In early December of 1899, an outbreak of bubonic plague in the district was exacerbated by the close living conditions. Schools were closed and Chinatown's 7000 residents were placed under quarantine. On December 31st, after 13 people had died of the plague, the Honolulu Board of Health ordered the destruction of any building in which a person had contracted the disease. Residents were evacuated and the Honolulu Fire Department began a series of controlled fires. Starting on January 1, 1900, 41 fires were set, each one successfully destroying infected buildings. On January 20th, however, the winds shifted during one of the controlled burns and burning embers were carried onto the Kaumakapili Church steeple, setting the wooden building on fire. The pumps that the fire fighters used at the time were unable to spray water as high as the steeple, and the flames quickly spread, moving from building to building and overwhelming the district. The fire burned for 17 days, destroying 38 acres of Honolulu including almost all of Chinatown. No lives were lost, however over 4,000 people were left homeless. The refugees were housed in emergency camps set up in the city, including the grounds of Kawaiaha'o Church and the area behind 'Iolani Palace.
After the fire, Chinatown was encircled by a high wooden fence and access into the district was restricted. The Fire Department continued to set controlled burns, all without incident. The area was resurveyed and new building permits were issued after May 17, 1900. By June, Honolulu was declared plague-free. Today, most of the oldest buildings in Chinatown date to the early 1900s, with a few notable 19th century buildings that survived the fire.
By the 1920s, Chinatown was again a thriving commercial district. While the district was growing, however, the Chinese population had been shrinking. In the mid-1880s, a majority of Chinese living in the Hawaiian Islands resided in Honolulu's Chinatown. After the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 slowed immigration from China, sugar plantations turned to Japanese immigrants as a source of labor. Many of these Japanese laborers moved to Honolulu and Chinatown after their contracts were finished. Chinatown's Japanese residents opened theaters, hotels, cafes, and bars that served the Japanese population. Japanese immigrants were followed by Filipinos and Portuguese, making Chinatown one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Honolulu.
By the late 1930s, Chinatown had begun to decline as many of the Chinese residents moved to other areas of Honolulu to live while still keeping their businesses in the district. With America's entry into World War II, however, Chinatown enjoyed a new vitality when its nightclubs, restaurants, brothels along Hotel Street, and gambling parlors became a popular destination for the large military population on the islands. After the war, Chinatown fell into a long slow decline, becoming known as a hotspot for illegal activities.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the number of people living in Chinatown continued to drop and businesses began to suffer. The opening of the Ala Moana Shopping Center in 1959, located two miles to the southeast, meant that shoppers no longer frequented the stores in downtown Honolulu or Chinatown. Also that year, Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state, setting off a tourism boom from the U.S. mainland. By 1960, tourism had overtaken sugar and pineapple as the main industry in the islands, and as areas such as Waikiki, three miles down the coast from Chinatown, became popular tourist destinations fewer and fewer people frequented Chinatown.
In 1973, Honolulu's Chinatown was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. As a result, the area began to revitalize and the city started to invest in Chinatown and its unique history. Government spending re-energized the local economy and encouraged private investors to return to the district. In the 1980s, Maunakea Marketplace, which incorporates the front of an older theater, and Kekaulike Mall were built to help bring commerce back to Chinatown. The residents and business owners of Chinatown were instrumental in the district's rebirth, setting up nonprofits and corporations, and working with the city to preserve and grow Chinatown. Today, Honolulu's Chinatown is once again a vibrant commercial district with smaller traditional businesses such as restaurants, shops, and bars existing alongside a growing number of art galleries and artists' studios.
Chinatown Historic District is the largest area in Honolulu that reflects an architectural and historic character with a distinctive sense of time and place. Most of the buildings in the district were built between 1900 and 1920, with only a very few predating the Chinatown fire of 1900.
Art critique went relatively well, finishing this research paper, then writing in phone numbers in my new slingshot organizer. : )
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