Opium Den Holdup at Moy’s on Pennsylvania Avenue

a modern gentleman would never be CAUGHT in an opium den.

Ghosts of DC

You may be aware of the blight that lined Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1970s with the proliferation of sleezy strip clubs and porn shops, but did you know that over 100 years ago, you could head to the old Chinatown and indulge yourself into a opium-induced stupor? That’s right, our very own city had opium dens, though not nearly as pervasive as San Francisco and New York.

Below is a wild article I came across in the Washington Post from July 22nd, 1907. Remember that when you’re reading this, it is 1907 and the portrayal of Chinese immigrants was very much a caricature with racist undertones.

Charged by Lee On, a Chinaman in charge of the “hop room” at Moy’s store, 325 Pennsylvania avenue northwest, with having held up at a revolver’s point the attendants in the opium room and demanding a pipeful of the drug, Harry M. Puryear…

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