This is not a spoiler: Estella Habal’s San Francisco’s International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement is a story with a happy ending. Proof positive is the 2-year-old International Hotel, which stands proudly at Kearny and Jackson streets in downtown San Francisco where the city’s Financial District and Chinatown meet. Topped with 14 stories of apartments, including some designated for low- income seniors, the building today also houses the International Hotel Manilatown Center on the ground floor, which holds more than a century of Filipino American history.
The original International Hotel, intended as a luxury destination for wealthy travelers, was built on Jackson Street in 1854, moved to its 848 Kearny St. location in 1873 and was rebuilt in 1907 after the great San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906. By the 1920s, the International Hotel, known locally as the I-Hotel, found itself squarely in the middle of a 10-block Filipino American enclave along Kearny Street known as Manilatown, the first Filipino American community in San Francisco, and one of the first (and few) across the country. …[click here for more]