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74 El Dorado -
Chinese Laundry & Secret Lottery?
(1) Though it was technically illegal, Chinese Lottery was a game of chance played by all strata of society - literally the lottery of its day.
Tickets could often be purchased at Chinese laundries (frequent victims of police raids). The game was invented in 200 B.C. and was brought to America by Chinese who worked on the transcontinental railroad and silver mines. Keno is a modern equivalent - a suckers game according to some.
Leo Sullivan reminisces about his fathers propensity for the game (circa 1898): ". . . dad would slow up and, if the coast was clear, slip into a weather-beaten shack next to Riley's Horse Shoeing Shop. (This was a block to the right in above photo - close to corner of El Dorado and San Pedro.) The dilapidated old shed housed a Chinese laundry - with a subrosa (sic) game going on in the rear - a typical lottery joint. Tickets were four-inch paper squares, on which were some 60 or more Chinese characters. The player would daub ten of the characters with a little paint brush, gambling that the same ten characters would be drawn that night in the San Francisco Chinatown."
Another game of chance popular in San Jose in 1898 was Louisiana Lottery. Leo reminisces: ". . . the fad had swept the country like wildfire. There were two Louisiana, the "Big"and the "Little." The "Big L" cost one dollar a ticket, better than an average day's wage. The "Little L" paid off in lesser prizes. Allogie's (Allogies Cigars) had 'em both. Drawings were held monthly in New Orleans."
"It was a rare individual who had not contributed at least one cartwheel (silver dollar) to the kitty every month - my father was no exception! One night he dreamed of the same number containing the same figures, two different times. Efforts to locate that particular ticket proved unavailing - it had been sold in the east. The cigar store crowd scoffed at Pat's "Nightmare." Allogie bet Pat a double eagle that his number was only a "Dream." Allogie lost! Pat's "Nightmare" made some easterner richer by $10,000.00."
Miller's Saloon, the Pacific Coffee
Saloon & Chop House occupied the corner of Market and El
Dorado (circa 1869). Men entered from Market St., and women were
allowed to enter from El Dorado.
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