天下為公 (Tiānxià wèi gong) – All under heaven is for the good for the people. ~ 孫文 (Sūn Wén)
Located at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Bush Street, San Francisco’s Dragon Gate draws more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge! (San Francisco Chronicle) The oldest Chinatown in the United States is home to this beautiful and authentic paifang, a two-tiered structure made with stone and adorned with a tiled roof of jade green.
Dedicated on October 18, 1970, the gateway was designed by architect Clayton Lee and built with materials from Taiwan. The gate has three passageways. In ancient times, the central one would be designated for dignitaries while the commoners would use the two smaller passageways. The Dragon Gate was also built with the principles of feng shui in mind, so the gate is facing south.
The wooden plaque that hangs from the central archway contains the above quote from the “Father of Modern China”, the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-Sen. The gilded characters are read from left to right. If you look closely, you will see the characters 孫文 on the left, followed by an official seal.
Sun Yat-sen was known by several names, including Sūn Zhōngshān (孫中山) and Sun Wen (孫文).
There is much to explore in San Francisco’s Chinatown! Take a tour and see this Chinatown’s history for yourself!