Dosan Memorial Foundation and UC Riverside Young Oak Kim Center claim Riverside, California is First Ever Koreatown. Starting in August of 2015 Dosan Memorial Foundation Chairperson Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong laid claim that his hometown of Riverside is the first Koreatown. The first photo on the left is from the article in the Korea Times reporting Dr. Hong's claims.
On June 2016, Professor Ed Chang Director of the Young Oak Kim Center at the University of California Riverside joined Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong in a presentation to the City of Riverside City Council Historical Preservation Committee convincing its members Riverside was the "First Ever Koreatown." The Committee unanimously believed what was presented at the hearing approving the "resolution". The matter is pending presentation to the Mayor and City Council Members for their review.
The suggestion that Riverside is the "First Ever Koreatown" is wrong and it is based on incorrect historical information provided to the City of Riverside.
It would be a serious revision of history to change the long time understanding that San Francisco holds the claim Riverside is attempting to make.
Key activities related to Dosan's legacy supports San Francisco. Historical records do not support Riverside. There were already Koreans in San Francisco when Dosan and Helen arrive on October 12, 1902. By 1903 Koreans began to come from Hawaii to get out of plantation work. Dosan started the first Korean Community organization there called the Chinmokhoe (Friendship Association) in 1903, organized the first prayer group, established both the headquarters of the Kongnip Hyophoe (Mutual Assistance Assn.) and the first Korean newspaper in 1905. Dosan established an employment agency in San Francisco. Dosan then went to Riverside with Yi Kang who had run labor camps in Hawaii. They set up Pachappa Labor Camp styled after the Hawaii Labor Camps. Almost every Korean organization had its headquarters in San Francisco. Can anyone recall Riverside having a port of entry for Koreans? What do you call the community that developed there? Can the Pachappa Labor Camp meet the definition of a "town"? One thing that is becoming clear is people in Riverside are mistaken about Korean history.