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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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