The Last Empress

Empressopeneruse  Soong May-ling, more famously know as Madame Chaing Kai-shek, was the Princess Diana of her time. She was the wife of the leader of China during World War Two when China fought alongside the Allies against Japan, and was so popular, her picture was on packages of cigarettes Allied soldiers carried into the various theaters of the war. In March of 1943, in the middle of the war, she paid a goodwill visit to Chinatown and the crowd that greeted her rivaled anything the Giants or 49ers received! This was over 72 years ago, and it’s safe to say that the majority of the crowds cheering for her are gone now, but it’s doubtful that many of them lived to 105 as the last Empress did when she died in 2003.  Empblog2use Madame Chaing Kai-shek passes through the Chinatown gate escorted by police and bodyguards. This gate interests me, it’s not where today’s Chinatown gate at Bush and Grant is. I had to do some building match ups, but it was at the north side of the Clay and Grant Ave intersection. I can’t get much information about it, so I don’t know if it was put up for the occasion or if it was part of Chinatown back then, but it’s gone now.  Empblog3use The other side of the gate as her entourage passes by.  Empblog4use A parade in her honor moves up Grant Avenue from Clay with the gate visible at the far right.  Empblog5use Madame Chaing, in the center, visits Beniamino Bufano’s statue of Sun Yat-sen in St. Mary’s Square.  Empblog6use The crowd gathers around Old St. Mary’s Church at California and Grant.

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