to Hindoo Alley, Oregon
After graduating from Khalsa College in Amritsar, Punjab and encouragement
from his father, Bhagat Singh Thind left India for Manila, Philippines
on March 5, 1912 as a US Protectorate at the age of 19 years.
He remained in Manila for nine months working for five dollars
a day before resuming his journey aboard the vessel "Minnesota"
to America. He arrived at Seattle, Washington on July 4, 1913.
From Seattle, Dr. Thind worked at several lumber mills. He eventually
found his way, along with other Sikhs to Astoria, Oregon in area
known as Alderbrook. Because of the high concentration of East
Indians there, Alderbrook was known as "Hindoo Alley".
a central cookhouse where the workers ate Indian food. Most men
were single, and on regular occasions sent their earnings back
to their families in India. The Astoria community considered the
Hindus "vastly interesting and peaceful." However, most Indians
kept to themselves and did not mix with the citizens. During their
free time the Indians would hold wrestling bouts in Rosenberg
Hall, which was located in central Astoria.
lived at 2564-½ Birch Street, which was adjacent to the mills.
There were 12 bunkhouses along the waterfront between 51st and
52nd Streets on Birch where the most of the Hindus lived. Dr.
Thind lived with 3 other workers, as was the custom to having
four men per house. (See illustrations below).
On April 23,
1913, some patriotic and enlightened Indians held a meeting in
Astoria with the objective to liberate India, with the force of
arms, from British colonialism. This group would eventually be
known as Gadar. Dr. Thind would become one of the original
members, but only in a nonviolent method of lecturing for India's
independence throughout the Northwest and in later years throughout
map of the houses where Dr. Thind resided. He lived in house #2564
for larger photo)
Thind found employment at the Hammond Lumber Company in early
1914. It was estimated that there might have been nearly 100 Hindus
among the 600 employees of different nationalities who worked
for the mill. Dr. Thind spent
six years (1914-1920) working for Hammond Lumber where the average
pay was about $2.00 per day for a 10-hour workday. Unfortunately,
the mill burned to the ground on September 11, 1922.
low pay, Dr. Thind earned enough money to start attending classes
at the University of California at Berkeley. There, he studied
psychology, philosophy, and many other related subjects. Though
he obtained his degree, his primary goal was to study law. There
was one primary obstacle - lawyers had to be US citizens. This
initiated Dr. Thind's 22-year struggle for American citizenship.
It is this struggle that occupies a prominent historical place
in American Immigration history.
day pictures of what was the Hammond Lumber Company
(click for larger photo)