Chinese Diplomatic Mission Banquet
April 28, 1868
Lick House was built by James Lick, who made an enormous fortune by being among the first to buy real estate in the tiny village of San Francisco. Opening in 1861, the luxury hotel boasted a large dining room modeled on a room in the Palace of Versailles. At this banquet, Californians enthusiastically fêted U.S. Ambassador Anson Burlingame and a delegation of Chinese diplomats who were on their way to Washington, D.C. to sign a treaty that would ease immigration restrictions, allowing the transcontinental railroad to be completed more quickly. Attitudes changed considerably by 1882 when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting all Chinese laborers from entering the country.