Smoke 'em if you got 'em
October 12, 2009 2:34 PM Subscribe
They're responsible for the slang terms "hip"
Among many other traditions, Chinese immigrants brought opium dens to the Western world. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde all embellished the existence of opium dens in Victorian England
. In the expanding US, Chinese railroad workers brought opium dens to outposts as far-flung as El Paso
. By the 1880s, US readers were familiar with the stereotypical opium den of urban Chinatowns like San Francisco's (pdf)
-- where it was made illegal for white people to smoke -- and New York's (pdf)
Learn more about opium dens, and see the photos, at the online Opium Museum
.1 Warning: Commercial site that sells large quantities of poppy seeds. May not be appropriate for the workplace or for parolees.
2 Another warning: Extremely culturally insensitive account from the New York Times, 1880.