Chinese

Image of Chinese in Mokelumne Hill
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Chinese in Mokelumne Hill

Mokelumne Hill’s Chinatown stretched along East Center Street, from present-day Shutter Tree Park east to the edge of the Catholic Cemetery, and south up what is now called China Gulch. It was said to be one of the largest in the County and featured two temples: the Taoist Temple in the now-empty lot next to the park, and the Buddhist Temple farther to the east. Surviving earlier fires and floods, the community was nearly wiped out by a fire in 1898, started by a bombing of the Taoist Temple by the rival Buddhists.

Image of China Houses: Chinese Prefabricated Structures in the California Gold Rush
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China Houses: Chinese Prefabricated Structures in the California Gold Rush
By Leland E. Bibb, Asian American Comparative Collection Newsletter 27(1) March 2010

When gold was discovered in California in 1848 it was an undeveloped region without the infrastructure to feed, clothe, supply or house the thousands of people who were arriving daily. Many of the gold seekers and most of the supplies came through the new city of San Francisco, which at that time was a city of tents. Entrepreneurs saw that the need for housing could be met with prefabricated houses from China. During the first few years of the gold rush between 75 and 100 of these Chinese houses were brought to California.

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