California History:  More Historical Sites

What’s on this Web page:  fishing villages, New Almaden’s Spanishtown, Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, Italian Swiss Colony, Allensworth, Locke, Tanforan Assembly Center, and construction and private enterprises.

Ethnic Enclaves

Most 19th-century neighborhoods were destroyed by nature, economics, or arson—or some combination of the three.  Such was the fate of the majority of Gold Rush camps and enclaves in gateway cities like San Jose.  A few communities have flourished—Chinatown in San Francisco, for example—and some are in dire need of preservation or revitalization—like parts of Marysville and Stockton.

Fishing Villages (1850-1890s), 25+ along the shores of the Bay Area and more on the Monterey Peninsula

...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)
...khamsin.org (Web Pages of Kevin Baugh)
...memory.loc.gov (The Library of Congress:  American Memory—click on Immigration, American Expansion, then The Chinese in California)
...parks.ca.gov (California Department of Parks & Recreation:  California State Parks)

 

Name (in chronological order) Location in Northern California
Rincon Point/South Beach Chinese Fishing Village (1850-c1865) under San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge near Piers 24 and 26; artifacts from 1987 excavation (archeo-tec.com) on display at Bayside Village Leasing Office San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*
China Beach (18xx-1xxx, outsidelands.org [click on The Places, then China Beach]) San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*
Point Lobos Chinese Village (c1851-1870s?) in Point Lobos State Reserve (pt-lobos.parks.state.ca.us), one remaining building now site of Whalers Cabin Museum at Whalers Cove Carmel, Santa Cruz Co.
Point Alones Chinese Fishing Village (1853-1906, sandylydon.com, mtycounty.com, mchsmuseum.com), now site of Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University (www-marine.stanford.edu) near Monterey Bay Aquarium Pacific Grove, Monterey Co.
Mission Creek Chinese Fishing Colony (1854) San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*
Pescadero Chinese Village or Pebble Beach Chinese Fishing Village (1868-1912, mtycounty.com, santacruzmah.org [click on History Trunk at bottom of page, then MAH’s Favorite Stories, then Jung San Choy]), now site of 17th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links (pebblebeach.com) Pebble Beach, Monterey Co.
China Beach or China Cove (1870s-1880s, sandylydon.com), now New Brighton State Beach Capitola, Santa Cruz Co.
China Camp State Park (1870s-19xx, CHL 924) San Rafael, Marin Co.*
Point San Pedro Fishing Village (1870-1905) near China Camp State Park San Rafael, Marin Co.*
Tomales Bay Chinese Settlement (1870s) in Tomales Bay State Park? Tomales Bay, Marin Co.*
Easton Chinese Fishing Village (1880-1894) near Easton Creek and El Camino Real Burlingame, San Mateo Co.*
China Slough (1880s) San Mateo Co.*
Castro Point Chinese Fish Camp (1880s) between Castro Point and Western Dr. Richmond, Contra Costa Co.*
Quon Mon Lee Fishing Camp (c1892) in Redwood City portion of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (desfbay.fws.gov, abag.ca.gov, recreation.gov), where Redwood Creek empties into Corkscrew Slough Redwood City, San Mateo Co.*
Sak Wong Ty Camp (1893) on San Mateo Point San Mateo, San Mateo Co.*

 

Note that the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (sanfranciscomaritime.areaparks.com, nps.gov/safr/) has a Chinese junk that resembles the same fishing vessel used over 100 years ago.

Spanishtown, New Almaden, Santa Clara Co.*

...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)

  • Community of Mexican Americans, Californios, and Chilean Americans who worked in the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine (CHL 339, 339-1)
  • Established around 1847 (closed to public)

Note that the New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum is open to the public.  This museum, located in Almaden Quicksilver County Park (parkhere.org), also contains some artifacts from China Camp (Chinese American miners worked here, too).

Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, Gold Hill, El Dorado Co.

...directcon.net/pharmer/Wakamatsu/Wakamatsu.html (Phil Veerkamp’s Wakamatsu Page)
...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)

  • First Japanese American community in California (CHL 815)
  • Established in 1869 (now site of elementary school)

Italian Swiss Colony, Asti, Sonoma Co.*

  • Agricultural colony established by Italian Americans in 1881 (CHL 621); marker at Asti Rd. and Asti Post Office Rd.

Worth-while to Un-Locke the Past

Even though we prefer to list only pre-1900 attractions, Allensworth (Tulare County) and the Delta town of Locke are so unique in California—indeed, American—history that they deserve to be included.  In fact, we don’t understand why AAA’s California TourBook fails to mention them year after year.  Their European counterpart would be the 1911 Danish American town of Solvang (solvangusa.com) in Southern California.

Allensworth State Historic Park, Allensworth, Tulare Co.

...parks.ca.gov (California Department of Parks & Recreation:  California State Parks)
...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)
...afroamhistory.about.com (About:  African-American History)
...amtrakcalifornia.com (Amtrak California)

  • Only California town built by and for African Americans
  • Established in 1908 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972
  • Allensworth School (1912-1968)
  • Grosse’s Drug Store (19xx-19xx)
  • Singleton General Store and Post Office (19xx-19xx)
  • Mary Dickenson Memorial Library (19xx-19xx)
  • Colonel Allensworth’s house (19xx-19xx)

Locke, Sacramento Co.

...locketown.com (City of Locke)
...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Nat’l Register of Historic Places under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Teaching With Historic Places, then Lesson Plans, then By Location, then California, then Locke and Walnut Grove:  Havens for Early Asian Immigrants in California)
...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)
...khamsin.org (Web Pages of Kevin Baugh)
...californiadelta.org (California Delta Chambers & Visitors Bureau)

  • Last American town built by and for Chinese Americans
  • Established in 1915 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971
  • Locke Garden Restaurant (1912), Locke’s first building
  • Dai Loy Museum, former gambling house (1916-1950)
  • Yuen Chong Market (1916)
  • Locke Chinese School (1926-1980s)
  • Al’s Place Restaurant (1934)
  • Locke Art Center

Note that nearby Walnut Grove (cr.nps.gov [select Nat’l Register of Historic Places under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Teaching With Historic Places, then Lesson Plans, then By Location, then California, then Locke and Walnut Grove:  Havens for Early Asian Immigrants in California], walnutgrove.com, californiadelta.org) and Isleton (isletoncoc.org, californiadelta.org, sacramentohistory.org [search for China]) have remnants of mid-19th-century Chinese American neighborhoods that are also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Years of Infamy

Japanese Americans were held at temporary detention facilities for a few months in 1942 before they were transferred to one of the 10 internment camps in the Western U.S.  There were 13 such temporary detention camps in California, one of which was in the Bay Area.  About 250 Italian Americans and thousands of German Americans were also interned.

Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno, San Mateo Co.*

...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)

  • Converted racetrack in 1942 (CHL 934), now site of Tanforan Shopping Center

Note that the two California internment camps were Manzanar War Relocation Center (CHL 850, Inyo County, manzanar.com, manzanarcommittee.org, nps.gov/manz/) and Tule Lake Relocation Center (CHL 850-2, Modoc County, tulelake.org, alturaschamber.org).

Construction and Private Enterprises

Public Works and Commercial Building Projects (1850s-1900)

...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)
...ohp.parks.ca.gov (California Department of Parks & Recreation:  Office of Historic Preservation)

 

Name (in chronological order) Location in Northern California
Big Gap Flume (1850s) built by Chinese Americans as part of a 36-mile water supply system for miners Tuolumne Co.
Buena Vista Winery (1857, 1858, 1862, CHL 392), first modern commercial vineyard in California founded by a Hungarian immigrant; Chinese Americans built three hillside tunnels for storage and planted grapevines Sonoma, Sonoma Co.*
Quick Ranch Stone Wall or “Great Wall of China” (1862), four-mile long rock wall built by Chinese Americans using uncut field stones Mariposa, Mariposa Co.
First transcontinental railroad (1863, CHL 780) in Old Sacramento State Historic Park (parks.ca.gov, oldsacramento.com), groundbreaking for Central Pacific Railroad Sacramento, Sacramento Co.
First Transcontinental Railroad (1865); Chinese Americans first hired to work on the transcontinental railroad here Auburn, Placer Co.
Southern Pacific Depot (1868, CHL 780-6), first transcontinental railroad to reach California here Truckee, Nevada Co.
Yema Po (1874-1892, csueastbay.edu/cesmith/cesmith.html [click on Yema-po]), campsite for Chinese Americans who built Lake Chabot reservoir in Anthony Chabot Regional Park; exhibit at East Bay Municipal Utility District (ebmud.com) Administration Center in Oakland San Leandro, Alameda Co.*
Lake Chabot Chinese Laborers Monument (see Yema Po above) near Tunnel No. 3 on the upper road to Anthony Chabot Regional Park Oakland, Alameda Co.*
John Swett Winery (1870s) built by Chinese Americans Martinez, Contra Costa Co.*
Beringer Vineyards (1876-1880, CHL 814, beringer.com), oldest continuously operating winery in Napa Valley founded by German American brothers; tunnels dug by Chinese Americans St. Helena, Napa Co.*
Gasquet Toll Road (1881-1886) in Six Rivers National Forest (fs.fed.us/sixrivers/), 20-mile corduroy road to Oregon border built by Chinese Americans Eureka, Del Norte Co.
China Camp (1883-1895) in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park (parks.ca.gov), campsite for railroad workers Aptos, Santa Cruz Co.
Christian Brothers Greystone Cellars (1889), winery and tunnels built by Chinese Americans, now site of The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus (ciachef.edu) St. Helena, Napa Co.*
Mclaughlin Wall or China Wall (1892), seven-mile long wall now inundated by Oroville Reservoir (?) (portions visible when water level low) Oroville, Butte Co.
China Slough (1xxx-1xxx), over 8,800 acres of marsh reclaimed by Chinese Americans Napa Co.*
Bartlett Springs Toll Road (1xxx) [east of Clear Lake], Lake Co.
Low Divide Road (1xxx) Low Divide, Del Norte Co.
Stone Walls (1xxx) built by Chinese Americans using uncut field stones; more than two miles remain (?) along Kennedy Rd. east of Los Gatos Blvd. Los Gatos, Santa Clara Co.*

 

Early Entrepreneurs (1860s-1905)

...cr.nps.gov (U.S. Department of the Interior:  National Park Service—Links to the Past…select Cultural Groups under A Cultural Resource Subject, then click on Five Views:  An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California)

 

Name (in chronological order) Location in Northern California
Visalia Stock Saddle (1869) founded in Visalia (Tulare Co.) by three Mexican Americans who sold it a year later; relocated to San Francisco in 1887 and finally to Fresno in 1983 Fresno, Fresno Co.
Bayside Canning (or Bay Side Canning) (c1890-1936, ghosttown.info, alviso.com, cachis.com/alviso/murals/bayside/) founded as Precita Canning (at Broadway and Sansome St.) in San Francisco by a Chinese American; relocated to Alviso after 1906 (around Elizabeth St. and Hope St.); third-largest cannery at one time (behind Del Monte and Libby); plants in Isleton (Sacramento Co.) and Mayfield/Palo Alto (Santa Clara Co.); main cannery buildings now site of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (sfbbs.org) Alviso, Santa Clara Co.*
Pacific Coast Canning (1903-1930s) founded by a Chinese American (Pine St. near waterfront) Oakland, Alameda Co.*
Bank of Italy (1904) founded by an Italian American and later renamed Bank of America San Francisco, San Francisco Co.*

 

An asterisk indicates San Francisco Bay Area destination; CHL means California Historical Landmark.

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