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Graffiti in San Francisco

City Guide's North Beach by Night guides are saddened every time they lead walkers past the marvelous mural on Romolo Place off Broadway between Columbus and Kearny. Created by artist Ann Sherry in 1994, the 200-foot-long mural entitled “Gold Mountain” depicts the history of the Chinese in San Francisco. It includes such Chinatown icons as Donaldina Cameron, who rescued Chinese girls forced into prostitution, Edsel Ford Fong, the famously rude waiter at Sam Wo’s restaurant, and Betty Ong, a flight attendant on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, who was painted into the mural in 2003.

Chinatown native Betty Ong, a flight attendant whose plane was flown into the World Trade Center on 9/11, was added to the Romolo Place mural in 2003. Now volunteers are needed to rescue her image from graffiti.

At the urging of Tour Coordinator Liz Einbinder, contacted both the SF Chronicle’s “Chronicle Watch” column and the City’s anti-graffiti office to call attention to the vandalism. The Chronicle ran an article about the damaged mural and described plans by the Chinatown Community Development Center, which co-commissioned the painting, to install closed-circuit cameras to provide 24-hour surveillance.

Cathie Lam of the Chinatown CDC is pleased to report that they have now raised the funds to install six surveillance cameras. She is currently mobilizing a team to work with muralist Ann Sherry to restore the painting, and asks if City Guides know of anyone who would like to join the effort. “We don't want lots of people, but we want ones who have interest in art, or are detail-oriented, and would like to help. We don't expect a one-timer, but someone who can commit to a schedule for a couple of months.”

Are you or is someone you know interested in restoring this beautiful depiction of Chinatown’s history? If so, please contact Cathie Lam at clam@Chinatowncdc.org.

Photo courtesy of Liz Einbinder.

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Chinatown native Betty Ong, a flight attendant whose plane was flown into the World Trade Center on 9/11, was added to the Romolo Place mural in 2003. Now volunteers are needed to rescue her image from graffiti.

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