Architecture Underworld Tacoma
posted by July 28 at 13:46 PMon
Tacoma has no Chinatown. Why?
[In 2000,] the Tacoma News Tribune published an article titled “Tacoma faces up to its darkest hour,” which stated that Tacoma might have turned out differently had it not booted out its Chinese population. “First, it is the only [city on the West Coast] that doesn’t have a large Chinese American population, [and the last] census figures suggest there are fewer people of Chinese descent in the city now than there were in 1885.”
Tacoma, however, does have “mysterious Chinese tunnels”:
72 years ago, a man named William Zimmerman sat down to tell a story about “mysterious Chinese tunnels” to the U.S. government. That interview was conducted as part of the Federal Writers’ Project, and it can be read online in a series of typewritten documents hosted by the Library of Congress.
Zimmerman claims that “mysterious” tunnels honeycombed the ground beneath the city of Tacoma, Washington. These would soon become known as “Shanghai tunnels,” because city dwellers were allegedly kidnapped via these underground routes – which always led west to the docks – only to be shipped off to Shanghai, an impossibly other world across the ocean. There, they’d be sold into slavery.
The whole mysterious business reminds me of a passage from a letter Goethe wrote to Lavater:
Like a big city, our moral and political world is undermined with subterranean roads, cellars, and sewers, about whose connection and dwelling conditions nobody seems to reflect or think; but those who know something of this will find it much more understandable if here or there, now or then, the earth crumbles away, smoke rises out of a crack, and strange voices are heard.