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Cathay in Eldorado:

The Chinese in California
































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Cathay in Eldorado: ~ THE BOOK CLUB OF CALIFORNIA 1972 KEEPSAKE SERIES ~ The Chinese in California ~ WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY OSCAR LEWIS ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Introduction ~ By Oscar Lewis ~ The Chinese in California have been an object of lively interest to residents of the state for many years. As early as 1890 Hubert H. Bancroft stated that in arguing the pros and cons of the "Chinese question/' as it had come to be called, "ship-loads of paper and printer's ink have been spoiled, and breath enough wasted to sail those ships." More than eighty years have passed since Bancroft made that pronouncement, yet interest in the subject has by no means disappeared. However, on this as on other once hotly debated issues, time has had a tempering influence, and today it is possible to examine the subject with a restraint and objectivity that would have been difficult only a few decades ago. ~ One conclusion that would surely emerge from such a survey is that the role of the industrious and unobtrusive Chinese in the upbuilding of California was more important than he has been credited with. For first and last he has had a finger in an extraordinary variety of pies. During a visit to the state in 1878, the Polish novelist, Henryk Sienkiewicz, wrote: "Let us ... look at the kind of work the Chinese perform in California." The future author of Quo Vadis? thereupon summed up his answer in a single word, "Everything," then went on to name some of the tasks he had seen them perform. His list included raising fruit, vegetables, and other crops, herding cattle, building railroads, and, in the cities and towns, serving as peddlers, house boys, cooks, laundrymen, and factory hands. ~ Something of that diversity is reflected in the texts that follow. For although no attempt has been made to tell the full story of the Chinese in California, it was felt that by the Judicious selection of topics to be discussed, it would be possible to convey to today's readers something of the the variety and color of this many-faceted subject, and to remind them anew that from gold rush days to the present the Chinese have wielded a frequently controversial, sometimes disruptive, but always potent influence on the social, cultural, and economic life of their adopted state. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Weaverville ~ By Moon L. Lee/Number One in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ When news of the discovery of gold in California in 1848 reached ancient Cathay, thousands of Chinese, eager to get their share of the great wealth, migrated to the state they called Qum Shun (Gold Mountain). Three years later, in the Weaverville area alone, were some 2,500 Chinese men, along with a few women and children. Some were merchants, but most were there to mine gold. ~ Originally they worked in groups of two or three, but by 1865 they had formed into companies of fifty or one hundred to protect themselves against the avarice and hostility of unscrupulous claim-Jumpers. The Chinese were successful in working many of the diggings that had been abandoned by the others. They perfected sluicing and introduced the device known as the ~ ~ Chinese rocker, bringing water to the claims either by flumes from higher elevations or by using the Chinese water wheel. But whenever they made a new strike of any value, they were likely driven off by the whites. With the advent of hydraulic mining further friction developed between the disgruntled Caucasians and the hard-working Chinese. As a means of further harassing and discouraging the latter, a Foreign Miners tax was imposed, which in the Weaverville area alone is said to have yielded $8,000 per month. ~ It is not known how much gold was mined by the Chinese of the area, or how much they sent home to China. But somehow they managed to prosper, and a local Chinatown sprang up, complete with grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, barber shops, lodging houses, brothels, and a Free Mason Hall. The last named was an imposing, two-story structure, the upper floor of which was used for rituals and social functions, while the street floor had sleeping quarters, a kitchen, dining area, and recreation room. ~ For a time the Chinese enjoyed a degree of peaceful coexistence with their white neighbors. In 1854, however, warfare broke out between two factions of their own people—which, fortunately, was settled with a minimum of bloodletting. ~ As the area prospered, so did the Chinese. The Douglas City Qd^ette of February 28, 1855 published an account of the celebration of Chinese New Year at their Weaverville temple. Sixteen years later, the temple was destroyed by fire, but many of the banners and tapestries it contained were saved. Six months later it was rebuilt and dedicated with a celebration said to have been loud with the sound of gongs, firecrackers, drums, and cymbals. The whites who participated were served TVg Qdi Pie, a Chinese wine, and fine Havana cigars. A new era had begun. ~ The builders of the new temple closely followed the design of those in their native Canton, except that instead of stone, the building material was wood. It was elaborately decorated with carvings and lanterns brought from China, and was named Won Lum Mao, meaning ^Temple among the Forest beneath the Clouds/' ~ In 1956, Moon L. Lee, grandson of one of the builders and an appointed trustee of the temple, donated the building to the people of California. Today it is a State Historical Monument, and has the distinction of being the only Chinese temple in California that has been used continuously as a place of worship since its founding. ~ ~ ~ moon lim lee is a prominent Weaverville merchant and the sole descendant of the Chinese miners who came to Trinity County during the Qold T^ush. .Mr. Lee has served as president of the Trinity County Historical Society and he is currently a member of the State Highway Commission. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Sacramento ~ By Charles H. Duncan/Number Two in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ Americans of Chinese ancestry can claim a Sacramento background very nearly as old as the city itself. Sacramento was born in 1848 at Sutler ^s Embarcadero not long after the word of Coloma^s gold began to spread through California. It fairly exploded with the full force of the Gold Rush of ^49 as the gateway to the northern mines for immigrants of all nationalities. ~ Those who came from the Far East called Sacramento Yee Fow, meaning Second City, a reference to its relationship to San Francisco where they Erst landed. They came in search of the Golden Hills and Sacramento was a necessary station along the way. ~ There is no adequate account of the early development of the Chinese community in Sacramento. These people were regarded as different, physically and culturally, and the society of a burgeoning frontier town generally was not noted for its tolerance in such matters. They were neglected ~ ~ by writers of the day, but casual references indicate that Chinese shops and businesses were first established around 1850. ~ Just two years later, the Reverend Joseph A. Benton described a bustling ^little China" stretching along I Street and spilling over toward J. In the language of his time, Benton declared, <(. . . these children of the sun and moon were in possession of the buildings of every description." There apparently was little contact between the Chinese district and the rest of the city at that time. The clergyman revealed he knew little of the way of life among the Chinese when he added, ^How they all managed to live and prosper, no one knew." ~ A footnote in the State Census taken in 1852 reported 804 Chinese in Sacramento and upwards of 10,000 more in the mining counties of Placer, Nevada and Yuba. Oppressive mining taxes imposed on foreigners, particularly the Chinese, in these years forced many back into the valley to maintain themselves in other pursuits until court action at various times brought temporary relief. ~ The area along and adjacent to I Street became almost a self sustaining community, although Occidentals would use the services when it was profitable to do so. The Chinese proved proficient fishermen, and their laundry and gold-washing activities attracted a general clientele. ~ They established their own entertainments, but the rest of the city is known to have enjoyed both their games of chance and their theater, even though it might not have been fashionable to admit it. A fourteen foot muslin sign is reported in 1855 to have announced ^The Canton Chinese Theater," behind a gambling establishment. It featured authentic Oriental acts and newspapers reported that ^the most venerated members of the community occupy . . . special boxes" at the performances. The troupe used puppets at first, but live actors soon took their places. ~ Sacramento ^s only foreign language newspaper, The Chinese Daily News, was published by Huang Tai in 1856; it cost twenty-five cents per week and lasted about two years. ~ The city, which had been the gateway to the mines, became the gateway to the railroad construction during the i86os when the Central Pacific brought in thousands of Chinese to work as laborers. This helped maintain the city^s Chinese district after gold mining had diminished. A Wells Fargo Directory of Chinese Merchants for 1873 listed 34 such establishments in Sacramento. A similar publication of the express agency in 1882 showed an increase to 105 Chinese businesses. ~ ~ ~ A contemporary engraving (1855) from the Sacramento Illustrated, ~ Many Chinese earned fortunes and returned to their Asiatic homes, but their places were taken by others and the Chinese quarter along I Street flourished down to the present. The traditional Chinese patience and resourcefulness overcame the bitterness of the exclusion efforts of the late i9th and early 20th centuries and they became increasingly prominent in the civic and social affairs of the city. ~ The dual objectives of maintaining a proud Chinese legacy of a civilization centuries old, and of participating in the growth and development of today's Sacramento, are well represented in the multi-million dollar Chinese center now nearing completion in the same general district as the Chinatown of the Gold Rush days. The Chinese are participating enthusiastically in this project, which is a magnificent blending of modern and ancient Oriental architecture. Shops, restaurants, and family association headquarters dramatically call attention to the proud heritage those of Chinese ancestry have contributed to Sacramento for nearly a century and a quarter. ~ ~ charles H. duncan i5 a Sacramento born writer with a flair for local history. He has observed and reported on the progress of the Chinese community in his home town. He is presently involved in a project dealing with the preservation of the rich heritage of printing and journalism of the region. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ China Camp ~ By Richard Dillon/Number Three in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ Not all of the Chinese who retreated to California after the 1869 driving of the Last Spike at Promontory, Utah Territory, put an end to their railroad careers became cooks, waiters, shoemakers or cigar rollers in San Francisco. Since their native province of Kwangtung or Canton had hundreds of miles of coastline, many of Charley Crocker's graders and tracklayers were ex-fishermen. It was only natural that some would pick up lines, hooks and nets when they cast down their C.P. R.R. picks, sledges, spikes and tie plates. The Asians found that California waters teemed with salmon, bass and sturgeon, and such shellfish as clams, crabs, abalone and shrimp. ~ During the 1870^ Chinese fishing colonies began to appear from Mon-terey Bay to Tomales Bay. Two major shrimp fisheries were off Hunter s Point in San Francisco Bay and Point San Pedro on Marin County ^s San Pablo Bay shoreline. Between tiny Rat Island and McNear^s Beach on the north side of Point San Pedro a shallow cove became the site of China Camp, the only surviving Chinese fishing village in California. Its ten to fifteen acres lay about 200-300 yards below the residence of Richard Bullis. ~ ~ According to tradition, the latter leased the area from George P. McNear and his brother, pioneer Marin brickmakers, for $1,000 a year then subleased it to the Chinese fishermen for $3,000. Bullis and his brothers had originally sold 700 acres of Point San Pedro to the McNears in the 1860^ then, only a few months later, bought back a 365-acre parcel. Presumably China Camp Cove lay Just beyond Bullis) property. ~ Anti-Chinese discrimination was rampant in the 1870^ and the Chinese fishermen used Bullis as their contact and (t front" with the San Francisco market. He was also captain of their little fleet. Californians did not approve of Chinese skippers of vessels of any size so it was Bullis who took tlie shrimp to Trisco and it was he who brought back from Redwood City the 900 cords of wood China Camp used up each season. In 1880 a law was passed to bar Chinese entirely from commercial fishing but it was found unconstitutional only two months after enactment. Some of the hostility was perhaps Justified since the so-called Celestials were even more ruthless exploiters of California^ fisheries than i9th Century Anglos, They had learned of the tasty Crago frdnciscorum, the so-called San Francisco Bay shrimp, from eight Italian shrimpers who used felucca-rigged boats and seines in deep water. Not only did finely-meshed nets imported from China drive the Italians out of business but thirty percent of the Ori-entals^ catch tended to be young smelt, perch, flounders, sole, tomcod, anchovy, bass and sculpin. These were often too small to eat and too far gone to throw back, so the Chinese used them to ^dress the soil" of China Camp. Behind the thirty to forty shacks near the water's edge were truck gardens for long beans and bok choy. ~ But the real fertilizer industry at China Camp was in the hulls retrieved after the shrimp were dried and threshed in clearings made in the brush of the hillside behind the cove. Twenty to thirty tons of shrimp a week were prepared for sale. The San Francisco market could take only a small part of the catch in fresh shrimp, which sold for 8^ to 14^ a pound. The rest was dried for shipment to China. The shells were sent too, to nourish the worn-out soils of the Old Country. Selling at $20 a ton, the shells returned the Marin County Chinese a profit of $5 a ton after all expenses. ~ Rickety piers stretched into the water and the stakes to which the shrimp nets were attached extended for a mile or more into the flats of San Pablo Bay. There were boathouses and marine ways as well as homes in China Camp. The editor of a mugbook history of Marin County noted a thirty-five foot craft and a forty-footer on the ways when he visited the cove ~ ~ ~ Chinese fishing boat, San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy the Bancroft Library. ~ ~ during the 1880*5. The boatwrights built smaller craft, sampans, as well as Junks complete with painted eyes on the bows so that the vessels could find their way back to their anchorage in tule fogs. At first, the lateen sails were the traditional ones but, later, canvas replaced the slatted bamboo of ancient China. During the 1880^, the heyday of the Chinese shrimp fishery, the little fleet of Junks and sampans was manned by 225 fishermen who shrimped not only off China Camp but also off Gallinas Creek and Petaluma Creek. ~ The fishery began to decline in the 1890^, even before pollution of the Bay began to affect the shrimp. Overfishing with set nets and trawls was the cause, and the number of boats licensed to fish for shrimp in San Francisco and San Pablo Bays dropped from forty-six in 1891 to only thirty-one in 1900. By 1930 the Quan family of China Camp, the last survivors of the North Bay community, was working only four boats, now trawling with the tides rather than setting the long, conical nets imported from China. ~ Today, China Camp is almost a ghost town although its quiet is disturbed by the whine of the outboards of sport fishermen who use the old embarcadero and buy a little shrimp for bait. In 1958 the property passed from the McNear family to Chinn Ho^s Hawaiian corporation, Latipac, and it was feared China Camp would fall before the bulldozers. Although this has not yet come to pass, neither has the historical park which Ma-rinites over the years have urged, to save the last remnants of a colorful episode in California^ maritime history. ~ richard dillon is head of the Sutro Library in San Francisco and one of California's leading historians. In addition to lecturing and writing for numerous major periodicals^ he is author of many award-winning books, His latest is a book. on the history of the Modoc Wars called Burnt-out Fires to be published by Prentice-Hall, ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ San Francisco ~ By Gunther Barth/Number Four in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ The name says it all, but hides everything: Chinatown, Romance and squalor, splendor and misery lie behind the nine letters. They evoke the comfort of home as well as the harshness of life. In San Francisco they mark the mysterious core of that city of strangers. San Francisco is a foreign city for every man, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in 1883, but he found that every group and race made themselves at home. The Chinese did too, like the other polyglot invaders of California from many pans of the world who were drawn to the harbor by the lure of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Sacramento Street they named T^ang Yen Gai, the Street of the Men ofT^ang. Some of them built canvas houses there between Kearny and Dupont streets in 1849, a block from the plaza where the Portsmouth landing party had raised the American flag three years earlier. Little China and Little Canton were other names for the growing quarter. However, they gave way to Chinatown long before its classic boundaries were identified with the area roughly encircled by Broadway, Kearny, California, and Stockton streets. ~ For the Chinese newcomers to California, Chinatown spelled home in an alien environment. Here they made their first contact with the new world after a hurried disembarkation dodging the stones thrown by hoodlums. Here they spent their last hours in the United States once their countrymen had cleared them for return to their homeland. Whenever possible they came from the mines and the railroad construction gangs, the fields, the orchards and the vineyards to visit Chinatown and celebrate ~ ~ their customary holidays. The ordinary life of Chinese laborers was hard and the religious and secular festivals provided a reprieve from the daily drudgery. Temples, theaters, restaurants, gambling halls and other places of diversion furnished an illusion of home for a few fleeting hours. The traditional ceremonies centered around the joss houses which grew in number from eight to thirteen between 1875 and 1885. The celebrating moved to restaurants and theaters when the religious pageantry gave way to the spirit of feasting. Every restaurant held its banquet, from the lowliest soup kitchen to the famous cafes of the rich. Festive multitudes thronged boxes, pit and balcony of the theaters. They clung to an actor's line, the singing, a Jugglers feat and the tunes of an orchestra and lost themselves in an imaginary world built on the contrast between the barren stage and the performers1 dazzling fineries. ~ Chinatown transplanted to San Francisco a segment of the traditional Chinese world of the Pearl River Delta. Most of the Chinese came from that small area around Canton in the southern province of Kwangtung; ~ they hoped to return there with their savings to the families they had left behind. They brought with them their social institutions which controlled life in the teeming business blocks and crowded alleys. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the official name of the Six Companies, district companies, clan and family associations, guilds, secret societies and tongs established their headquarters in Chinatown. They all pursued their specific objectives but also fulfilled a multitude of functions intimately connected with the Chinese view of personal relations. In addition to the traditional goals of mutual aid and protection, these social institutions contributed in various ways to the rule of an extra-legal government which dominated Chinatown. ~ Chinatown was not only home away from home, but also a complex system of controls that surpassed the government of the society-at-large. Along with the social customs, the traditional rivalries of the Pearl River Delta were in turn transmitted to California. The normal power struggle of rival groups for the control of Chinatown intensified the old frictions. Tongs waged wars over gambling houses and the traffic in opium and slave girls. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 added illegal entry into the United States to the list of contested rackets. The changes in the political make-up of the homeland were reflected in new Chinatown factions as again recently demonstrated by the appearance of Red Guards on Portsmouth Square in 1969 who spoke out against the establishment as repre- ~ ~ ~ Photograph by Arnold Genthe. ~ sented by the Six Companies. The timeless human conflicts between old and young, ins and outs, males and females, have and have-nots lay always under the surface of the struggle. ~ The various internal conflicts heightened the mystery of Chinatown in the eyes of non-Chinese. The peculiar architecture of the quarter, the western-style houses decorated to suit the taste of their Chinese occupants, and the art work of the Orient in the windows of antique shops lent substance to the exotic air. Dress, language and food contributed their share. And so did the large number of rootless men who in the alleys of Chinatown lived out their dream of returning to their families in Kwangtung. Phantasies, ignorance and misunderstandings painted at times a lurid picture of the quarter. It was reinforced by the aversion to a strange culture and the racial hatred which made Chinatown a source of conflict for ~ ~ Americans and magnified the bitter experience of the Chinese in the West. The strife formed a striking contrast to the gratitude of San Franciscans for and their pride in the ancient culture and its collective industry in their midst. ~ The gradual withdrawal of Chinese from the countryside and the growing industries of Chinatown drew more people into the crowded blocks and enhanced the social problems. The steady dispersal of Chinese families through the Bay area diminished some of the frictions with American society. Changes in the Chinese social structure deprived Chinatown of most of its traditional functions. The quarter adjusted to the different ways by consciously adapting to the needs of the tourist trade. Chinatown opened not only its restaurants and curio shops but also some of its holidays to all San Franciscans. Urban renewal projects and private initiative altered its appearance. Behind the new fagades many of the old human problems remain unsolved. Hidden under the name Chinatown, they give an inkling of the social cost which the Chinese have paid for their home in San Francisco. ~ dr. gunther barth is Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley' 1^ 19^5}^e received the Pacific Coast Branch Award of the American Historical Association for his Bitter Strength; A History of the Chinese in the United States. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy^s Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Stockton ~ By R. Coke Wood/Number Five in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ Presumably the Chinese made their first landing in San Francisco in 1846. These were Cantonese and had been traders and travelers for centuries. They probably had served as cooks and Jumped ship. In 1848, two Chinese men and one woman arrived from Hong Kong to settle in San Francisco. By 1849, many of the Chinese were being lured to the gold mines of the "Golden Mountains.n Many passed through Stockton, and so, by 1850, the San Joaquin County census listed fifty Chinese men from sixteen to thirty-six years of age, divided as follows: sixteen traders, thirteen stewards, eight cooks, seven hotel keepers, three bookkeepers, one miner, one painter and one fisherman. It was reported that in 1850, seven hundred and seven Chinese came into San Francisco, including two women, and by 1852 this number increased to four thousand. It was in that year that a group came to Stockton aboard the steamer Kdte Kedrney. The first Chinese settlement in Stockton was on Bridge Street between Hunter and El Dorado Streets. They lived in old shacks that had formerly been stores and in an old one-and-a-half-story hotel known as the French Hotel. The Joss House or Temple was established on the second floor of a building on Hunter Street and remained there after the turn of the century. George Tinkham in his History of Sdn Joaquin County'says this about the Temple: ~ "Their principal God was in the second story of a Chinese Temple or Joss House on Hunter Street adjoining Turnverein Hall, and there during their religious festivals the Chinese would come from far and near by the hundreds and bow down and worship the ^igJoss/ In 1881 the woodenstructure was torn down and replaced by a substantial brick building, erected at a ~ ~ cost of $7500. The second floor was fitted up as a Chinese Temple and over $5000 was expended in furnishing the interior. On one side of the room on an elevated seat was the new Joss, a hideous scowling creature over eight feet tall and dressed in all the colors of the rainbow. His worshipers would bow down before him and burn incense before his shrine. When the temple was dedicated by a three-day celebration of priestly prayers, incense and food offerings, thousands of people visited the place and admired the excellent specimen of Chinese skill and handiwork." As Chinatown moved toward Washington Street in the present century, the Temple building was sold and became a rooming house with a meat market on the ground floor. ~ A fire destroyed much of the settlement on Bridge Street and the Chinese settlers moved to the banks of the Mormon Canal to build their huts. ~ Carl Grunsky in his autobiography, Stockfon Boyhood^ describes Chinatown on Mormon Canal as follows: "Stockton's original Chinatown was located on the south bank of Mormon Slough west of Center Street. Here the Chinese lived in shacks built of refuse lumber, discarded boxes and scraps of tin, with occasionally some matted tule used for roofing. There was no system or order in the placing of the shacks. ~ "Fishing and laundry work appeared to be the only vocational activities of the resident Chinese, except during blackberry ing season in early summer, when half the Chinese population would be upriver picking berries, while the other half was cantering about town from house to house, selling the crop. Ten cents a pound was the price at which they were usually offered. ~ (There was always a smell of fish about Chinatown. Apparently the chubs and suckers, held in contempt by us boys, were quite welcome on the Chinese hook or in the net and great quantities of them could be seen in summer and in fall, strung out on lines to dry. ~ ^On the north side of the slough, Just at the water's edge, there were a number of tables with their tops Just above the water surface. Here was the Chinese laundry of that day. On the shore side of the table stood the laundryman up to his waist in water. Spread out on the table, a shirt was first treated with soap, then dripped into slough water. Then, held at one end, it was used as a club to pound the table. More water, more soap, more pounding after reversing the ends—and so on until thoroughly cleansed." ~ Gradually the Chinese business center came to be located on Washington ~ ~ ~ ~

From a contemporary photograph ~ Street between Center and Hunter Streets, which has been the center ot Chinatown for many years. ~ After the Gold Rush Days, the unskilled Chinese turned to farming on the unclaimed delta land where they grew potatoes and garden crops, usually on the ^share-cropn basis. ~ Another migration of Chinese began in the i86os when the Central Pacific Railroad was being built across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With the completion of the railroad in 1869, the cities of this area helped to absorb the Chinese. ~

Here are the federal census reports on the number of Chinese in Stockton: ~ in 1870—1629; 1880—1997; 1890—1676. Seven-eighths of these Chinese were men. ~ The Chinese were a significant labor supply as the farmers began to reclaim the swampy tule marshland of the delta. In 1870, the reclamation of Sherman Island began when a six-foot high levee was built around the entire Island and it was drained. From 1878-1884, they built a levee and drained Bouldin and Roberts Islands, to grow crops. ~ In 1890, 1676 Chinese lived and worked in Stockton. By 1900 the population had dropped to 593, but after the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, ~ ~ many left that area for other towns in the interior. Prominent Chinese farm" ing names were Ah Jack, Lew Man, Tang Wo and Lee Louis. In the early i90o's some 3,000 Chinese in SanJoaquin County were working at fifty farm camps. Soon Stockton had 5,000 in its Chinatown, making it one of the largest in California. ~ Although most of the early Chinese settlers worked at menial types of labor, such as servants, peddlers, laundrymen, from these first immigrants has developed Stockton^s modern Chinese community. Today, within Stockton^s Chinese community of over 4,000, we find that leaders of Chinese ancestry have taken places of leadership in both the professional and commercial fields. ~ Old Chinatown along Washington Street between Hunter and El Dorado Streets is being redeveloped as the "Skid Row1* section of town has been removed. The new Chinatown development is centered in the same area but the beautiful new Lee family center, retaining the Oriental appearance, has been constructed on Washington Street for restaurants, shops, apartments, and professional offices which are a source of pride to Stockton. The famous On Lock Sam Restaurant that built a reputation for fine food all over Central California has been moved recently into an attractive new Oriental style building nearby and helps retain the old Oriental charm of new Chinatown. But there is no longer a Chinatown as it was known. The Chinese-Americans operate their businesses and practice their professions all over Stockton. ~ richard coke wood is d frequent contributor to books on the Qold country. He is presently an instructor in American and California history at San Joaquin Delta College and the University of Pacific, Mr. Wood is a former vice president of the Calaveras County Historical Society and editor of its journal. Having nothing better to do, he and his wife restored the old P. L. Trover Building, the oldest stone building in M.urphys which is now an Historical Landmark. Here he and his wife entertain in their Old Timers Museum. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Central Pacific R.R. ~ By L. D. Farrar/ Number Six in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ It is impossible to study the early history of railroad building on the Pacific Coast, indeed throughout the Far West, without constantly running into the recurring theme of Chinese laborers and their contributions to this field of transportation. Much has been written on the steadfastness of their labors, their ability to adapt to new work requirements, and their propitious appearance in adequate numbers to help accomplish the binding together of the West with bands of steel. There are lesser known chapters still to be written, however. ~ The first Chinese railroad workers were recruited from among the approximately 50,000 Chinese in the State of California during the mid 1860^. As more and more men were needed by the railroad contractors labor brokers in San Francisco were employed to provide a sufficient force for the work. Ships plying from China were almost sure to bring in a hundred or more potential(railroaders.n One firm which over the years was particularly involved in labor placement for the Southern Pacific and Central Pacific railroads was Sisson, Wallace and Company of San Francisco. They provided not only the recruits but saw to it that the necessary commissaries were operated and often acted as intermediaries between the railroad and the Chinese gangs, especially if the interpreter or ^No. i man" was not available. ~ ~ The average Chinese laborer was a man small of stature who compensated for a lack of brute strength by persistence and perserverance. These characteristics led to the adoption of techniques in railroad construction which would not have been employed had white labor been used because of the much higher rates of pay demanded by them. A prime example of this was the use of one horse cans for moving earth or rock in grading a roadbed for the ties and rails. Where the terrain was flat and the embankment of the roadbed very low, pick and shovel work was performed by large gangs of Chinese. A much more efficient method of forming railroad roadbeds would have been the use of Fresno scrapers, usually four horses or mules pulling a specially shaped scoop and operated by one husky teamster with perhaps a helper where the ground was particularly rough or rocky. The additional men in the Chinese grading gang at the prevailing wage of $26 per month (no board) cost no more than the work animals and their expensive feed plus the wages of white teamsters and helpers and the attendant hostlers, blacksmiths and water boys all of whom usually received board. The overriding qualifications in favor of the Chinese were availability when they were needed (usually but not always) and their seldom refusal to go to ^The Front," as the rail head was called by most newspaper editors, be it in the cold mountains or the hot deserts. Water to be used for tea and baths by the chinamen was as scarce and expensive as it was for the white men and their animals and favored neither side as a cost factor. ~ As the Chinese became skilled in the various arts of preparing and maintaining a railroad roadbed their value as section men, those who take care of the track after its construction, increased greatly. At some towns where the recurring anti-Chinese sentiment would flare up from time to time the gangs were moved to more remote localities for their own protection and white gangs replaced them in the towns. But on occasion the Chinese were not enthralled with bucolic life and simply drifted away. An unfeeling white foreman could have his hands more than full with a Chinese gang that got fed up with real or imagined unfair treatment. On occasion he would end up being assaulted, something demanding instant dismissal of the not so docile (^ons of heaven.? T ~ At least two cases of county road taxes concerning Chinese affected railroad work. A gang employed west of Goshen in Fresno County was locked up by the sheriff for failure to pay the head (poll) tax. Rail laying came to an immediate halt without this auxiliary force and much expense ~ ~ of idle white men and animals was incurred while the Chinese gang took an enforced work break. A luckier gang in Contra Costa County paid the $2 per head tax there and then proceeded across Suisun Bay to Solano County where the tax was $4 per head. Work proceeded apace with acute frustration on the part of the Solano County sheriff but considerably less expense to the railroad as well as to the Chinese. ~ Experience gained on railroad construction work was in several instances carried over to other fields. Many miles of levees protecting the delta lands from Sacramento and San Joaquin river waters were constructed by Chinese gangs not too long removed from Utah Territory and its historic Promontory. Recruits from railroad grading gangs also were frequently employed in levelling large orchard acreage throughout the State of California. The fame of these workers was such that several instances are recorded where gangs of several hundred were employed in the east and south. ~ In conclusion perhaps the healthiest offshoot of the Chinese railroad construction crews was the very large truck farming industry which blossomed in this state in some large measure to provide desired vegetables to go with other chosen foods for these hard working men. In this we have all benefited. ~ ~ C. CROCKER. ~ PAY ROLL ~ ~ L. D. farrar is the Valuation Engineer for the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. The facsimile of the Chinese Payroll is from the archives of that company and it is reproduced through their courtesy. Book. Club members will remember that Mr, Farrar contributed to our 1969 Keepsakes with The Rose Bud Letter. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Tuolumne County ~ By Carlo M. Dc Ferrari/ Number Seven in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ Upon their arrival at the diggings, California's Gold Rush Chinese were almost immediately engulfed in a sea of Caucasian prejudice. Differences in complexion, facial features, culture and in dress and religion were accentuated, not relieved, by their painful attempts to communicate in English—efforts that only reinforced disdain with ridicule. The only intolerance they didn't encounter was the historic enmity reserved for their fellow sufferers of Latin descent and Roman Catholic faith. ~

The feeling against the Chinese was often vented in physical violence; ~ they were assaulted with impunity and robbed, murdered or driven from their mining claims. Their meek acceptance of such treatment led to the common belief that they were cowards, and upon the rare, desperate occasions when they dared to resist, it brought down upon them an almost united Anglo-Saxon assault. ~ Even other oppressed races and nationalities gave them little pity. They were mercilessly victimized by the Hispanic Americans and harassed by the native Indians. So dispairing was their lot that the expression "Chinaman's chance" became widely used to describe any situation considered to be beyond hope. ~ Yet they persevered and prospered! ~ Every Gold Rush town of any pretentions had its own Chinatown, and ~ ~ two of Tuolumne County's deserve special mention: the first, Chinese Camp, which was founded by California's pioneer Chinese gold miners, the other, Columbia, because the Chinese experience there was so typical. ~ The vanguard of the Chinese Argonauts consisted of a company of 35 men who arrived in the Tuolumne diggings in the summer of 1849 under contract to mine for English speculators from Hong Kong. Guided by experienced Mexican miners, they commenced working in a dry tributary of Wood's Creek which soon became known as Chinese Diggings. ~ The richness of the Chinese placers quickly attracted white miners and the first meeting of the two races established the pattern for their future relationship; the Chinese were forced from their claims. They moved to new diggings a mile westerly and the location of their first mining attempt became known as old Chinese Diggings or Campo Salvado. ~ The new placers were also rich and white miners soon followed to establish an adjoining settlement called Washingtonville. Many of the Chinese moved to other diggings, but some remained in a small Chinatown on the western edge of the camp. ~ The Chinese miners who worked along the Tuolumne River, or gleaned small amounts of gold from the nearby dry gulches, established the camp as the Celestial capitol of the area. The town became permanently known as Chinese Camp while its rival name, Washingtonville or Camp Washington, was relegated to one of its principal thoroughfares, Washington Street. ~ Each Chinese miner belonged to a protective association or company through which he maintained contact with his homeland, transacted business or had his disputes arbitrated, and the headquarters of these companies were in Chinese Camp. There the Chinese also congregated to purchase supplies, receive medical treatment, and participate in religious observances. For the dead, a small cemetery on the northern edge of Chinatown served as a transient resting place until their bones could be disinterred and returned to China in accordance with custom. ~ Columbia, like other mining camps, treated its first Chinese miners as interesting curiosities; but as they began to increase in numbers and compete in digging for gold, the attitude towards them changed and their vices were exaggerated and their virtues ignored. Hard working, temperate, frugal, the Chinese antagonized the miners of other races, while patronage of their own merchants lost for them the support that local commercial interests had always given other bedeviled minorities. ~ ~ ~ Following failure of the state to enact anti-Chinese legislation, the growing animosity erupted at a mass meeting of miners in Columbia in May, 1852. The Chinese were forbidden to mine in the Columbia Mining District and a vigilance committee was appointed to enforce the order. Similar prohibitions were included in later district mining regulations. ~ Dispite continuing community hostility, a Chinatown began to grow north of Jackson Street as the Chinese established business houses to provide their countrymen with supplies, gambling facilities and inevitably with opium and prostitutes. The community was soon large enough to attract Chinese theatrical companies which performed to the enjoyment of local lovers of Celestial art and the utter bewilderment of all others. ~ A local newspaper editor recorded that the Columbia Chinese of his day were an inoffensive, orderly and sober people who attended strictly to their own business, but also commented that only two of them could read English, one of whom was a subscriber. Later, noting that the inability of ~ ~ officials to readily distinguish one Chinese from another aided the Orientals in escaping taxes, he suggested as a solution that they all be corralled simultaneously and then released one at a time and the taxes collected! ~ In August, 1857, a fire of Chinatown origin destroyed a large part of Columbia, and while the embers were still glowing the town council met and ordered that the Chinese be forever thereafter barred from residence within the village's limits! ~ A new suburb called Chinaville was born beside the Gold Spring Road but soon returned to its ancestral Columbia abode to mature. There, with patience it suffered the numerous indignities inflicted by its Caucasian neighbors whose young delighted in pelting the persons and residences of the Chinese with stones while abetted by their elders through the example of occasional assault and even murder. Once the pacific tradition of the community was broken when Ah Tung, Chinatown's only Oriental gunman of record, unsuccessfully attempted to ^shoot it out" with County Sheriff John L. Bourland. ~ Today the passage of the Chinese through Tuolumne County's history is monumented by the windrowed tailings of those who came to mine, or traced in the winding miles of stone wall fences built by their successors, and the memory of all is annually refreshed by the perennial China trees that attest to their brief sojourn. ~ carlo M. de ferrari i5 a third generation native Californian on both sides of his family. Currently^ .Mr. Dc Ferrari is serving his second term as County Clerk, and A.uditor-Controller of Tuolumne County. He was recently appointed to the office of Tuolumne County Historian by the Board of Supervisors, He has edited booJ^s on the M.other Lode and is now completing a history of the Sonora Pass and early .Mono County, Mr. Dc Ferrari is a past president of the Tuolumne County Historical Society and co-editor of their quarterly, Chispa. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Monterey ~ By Samuel Stark/Number Eight in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ The Monterey Bay Chinatown was in Pacific Grove, at a tiny village near the presentday Marine Laboratory Point and close by Cannery Row. An early black-and-white photograph shows eight or ten wooden shacks, perched on stilts above the rocks, close to the waters edge. It is said the town consisted of approximately two hundred shacks, with a main street and the traditional Joss-house the center of activity. Various small family companies controlled the operation of the village, and as in China, the elders were respected and maintained the discipline of their highly organized family life. ~ ~ Fishing was their principal source of income. The boats used were built by them in the Chinese style, mostly small trawlers or Junks and the mode of sailing and navigating was identical with that in their homeland. All species of fish indigenous to the California waters were caught, mainly bass, mackerel, salmon and pilchard—the latter being the lowly sardine. ~ Their most lucrative source of income was in the sale of abalone and abalone shells, together with the catching and drying of squid, which was shipped to markets in San Francisco as a diet supplement, with even greater amounts sent to the Orient for use as fertilizer in the rice fields. ~ The odor from the drying squid, which were spread on the sand dunes or rocks to dry, was a source of bitter complaint from the other residents. However, the Pacific Qrove J^eview tells that despite its malodorous smells the Chinese fishing village was visited by curious sightseers. Since Pacific Grove was founded and incorporated as a summer resort by the Methodist Church for its members, it is likely that visitors passing through Chinatown and glimpsing the heathen altars, often visible through open doorways, cast many a Christian look heavenward and offered a silent prayer. ~ In all, though, the Chinese were accepted, in a picturesque way, as part of the community, with much of this complacency due to their industri-ousness and good behavior. Their Spanish-American neighbors were either puzzled or numbed by the prolonged working hours of the Oriental. The fishing boats would put out into the surf before sunrise and not return until nightfall. In the evening they would again sail out in their boats, as squid catching was done at night, with the use of nets and lighted red pine torches to attract their catch. The reflections in the water were a pretty sight, but such fishing was definitely unlawful even in those days. ~ A report in the i88os by the United States Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries states, ^The Chinese pay little attention to any established rules but persistently fish with trawls and all other gear known to the race, and in consequence of this constant violation of fishing laws there exists a bitter feeling between them and neighboring fishermen, and frequently severe altercations take place.n ~ Except for a few sporadic killings very little crime has been recorded during the forty or so years that Chinatown existed. Gambling among the Chinese was widespread and outsiders were welcomed and encouraged at the card tables, where the stakes^were often high. However, domino playing was popular, and men, women and even children, placed small wagers. ~ ~ ~ A postcard showing Moncerey's Chinatown, from the collection of Samuel Stark. ~ Hard-working as they were, the Chinatown residents found time for colorful celebrations and most of the older Monterey Peninsula dwellers recall their parades and festivals. Lucy Neely McLane, in her pleasant and well-documented book, A Piney Paradise, writes of her early life in Pacific Grove: "Chinatown lent a lot of atmosphere to young Pacific Grove. Her spectacular parades with dragons always in evidence, her colorful costumes, and her cooperation, will never be forgotten by the early families of the Grove. ~ "The Chinese ring contest was a memorable event. It took place on Chinese New Year's Day and was fought in Chinatown near the site of the present canneries. A Chinaman with the American flag in his hand led the line. Following the grand procession, which was a pageant of barbaric splendor, a contest—firing guns in which were concealed rings—was engaged in to determine which company would rule that year. Catching a ring entitled the winner to a prize representing good luck and general felicity for the new year." ~ In 1957, John Steinbeck, writing for the Monterey Peninsula Herald, offered his recollections of Chinatown. (<! remember it well, shacks built of scraps of wood, matting, pieces of tin. The district was known as Chinatown, a street free of sewerage disposal and very romantic. In it the Chinese ~ ~ kept alive the arts of gambling, prostitution and the opium pipe. I remember the night the whole thing burned to the ground. We felt that a way of life was gone forever.n ~ And disappear it did, for Chinatown was destroyed by fire in 1906, not to be rebuilt. Many lives were lost and arson was suspected as the fire hoses had been cut. Despite a valiant and determined effort of men with firefighting equipment from neighboring towns, the blaze, fanned by high winds, consumed the entire village. When the Chinese attempted to return to their homes and shops, access was forbidden and soon after they were forced to relocate elsewhere. ~ Today, Cannery Row still exists, but many changes are in evidence. Art galleries, restaurants, boat works, antique and gift shops have taken over most of the abandoned buildings—some remodelled, others demolished. Tourists invade the area, either on foot, by automobile or in sightseeing buses. Soon, with urban development, all that will change. Wing Chong's Grocery Store still remains a landmark, and a little further along stands the Hopkins Marine Station Laboratory, occupying ground that was once the Chinese cemetery. ~ samuel stark edited the CluVs successful 1970 Keepsake series, West Coast Expositions and Galas, He is the official historian for Variety and is currently living in Pebble Beach. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Hartford's China Alley ~ By Joseph E. Doctor/Number Nine in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ There are two very good reasons to visit Hanford's China Alley: California Chinese historic atmosphere and the excellent cuisine of its restaurants. ~ Hanford is located on State Route 198 midway in California's crop-rich San Joaquin Valley. Its China Alley is easy to find. Follow the city's east-west main drag, Seventh Street, to Green Street, turn north, and there is the friendly greeting, ^Welcome to China Alley, Historic Landmark," in front of the Wing family's Pagoda restaurant. On the step to the entrance is a fat and happy stone Buddha. You have come to the right place. ~ The Alley is a block long, lined on both sides with one and two story buildings built of bricks, most of which were burned on the site by the Chinese builders seventy or more years ago. The narrow alley walks are shaded by wooden awnings, and some second story fronts are enhanced with ornate iron grill work. Heavy iron shutters, reminiscent of Mother Lode communities, protect the buildings from vandals Just as they protected the businesses from badmen and fire when China Alley was a thriving Central California center for Chinese. ~ China Alley dates back almost to 1877, when the Central Pacific Railroad built west from its San Joaquin Valley main line into the Grange-ville area and established a new town named Hanford. Chinese labor built the railroad, and Chinese workers later poured into the area to harvest and prepare for drying the peach, apricot and raisin crops that became the principal commodities of the area beginning in the i88o's and lasting until the 1920^. Large Chinese colonies, numbering more than 1,000 in population in the harvest time, grew up in Hanford, as well as in nearby Armona, Visalia and Traver. ~ Chinatown originally spread along present China Alley and nearby Green Street. Chinese residences fronted on Visalia Street, Just to the north ~ ~ of China Alley. The first buildings were of wood, but fire resistant brick soon became the principal building material. ~ In the i920's there were enough Chinese children to warrant the establishment of a Chinese school where the language and culture of the old country were taught. The school still exists, but classes no longer meet there. ~ Present day China Alley is still almost 100 percent Chinese owned. Its story today is largely that of the successes of the descendants of Henry Gong Wing, an early restaurateur, who own about three-fourths of the Alley in maintaining their restaurants, two of the surviving businesses. ~ On the north side of the west entrance to the Alley is the Wing family's Pagoda restaurant, which serves tasty Chinese recipes, many of which were created by Grandfather Wing. It is not a mere "noodle Joint." Its interior is exquisitely and expensively decorated Chinese style, with many Chinese art objects, lending atmosphere to match the food. ~ Next to the Pagoda is the Wings' second food establishment, the Imperial Dynasty, which serves French style cuisine "with a touch of Chinese." Presiding over its kitchen is the second son of the third generation of China Alley Wings, Richard, who bears an international reputation as a gourmet chef. His genius as an architect, decorator, and Chinese art collector was brought into play in 1958 when the Wings, needing a cocktail bar, went all the way and set up also a restaurant to feature Richard's cooking. Today, diners come from great distances to enJoy the elegance of the Imperial Dynasty's Chinese art as well as its food. ~ Businessman of the family is Ernest Wing, maitre d'hotel, who also presides over the collection of fine wines he keeps in a basement that once was an opium den. At this writing, the Wings are busy refurbishing still another old building next to the Dynasty to create two more dining rooms, one of which is below ground level and which will be even more elegant than the present dining areas. , ~ Present construction will not touch the original restaurant which Henry Gong Wing took over from a cousin, who returned to China, in the i88o's. It was called the Mee Jan Low. Here Gong's son, Henry Chow Wing, succeeded his father, operating it until the i92o's. The old booths, dishes, and cooking utensils are still there and in the Jumble are valuable antiques, including a variety of gambling devices, lottery tickets, and games. ~ The Wings were members of the Sam Yup association, or long, and next to the restaurant complex is the Sam Yup lodge hall where members ~ ~ not only assembled in fellowship and to conduct business, but where also a member down on his luck was always sure of food and lodging. The Sam Yups still own the property, as they do the Taoist temple next door to it. It is one of the few Chinese ^Joss houses^ maintained intact in California. It is not as ornate as many were, but among its features is a list, in Chinese characters, of the names of all those who gave, even as little as 25 cents, to its founding. ~ The Sam Yups are a small association. In San Francisco they were shrimp fishermen. On one occasion a Sam Yup foolishly killed the head of a much larger long. The Sam Yups fled the city to the safety of Hanford^s China Alley, where by night they slept on the floor of the Mee Jan Low, leaving each morning when the breakfast trade began. A shotgun guard was posted at each end of the Alley. ~ Chinese New Year, Hanford Alley, c. 1896. Courtesy Thomas W. Chin. ~ ~ On the south side of the Alley, the Wings have recently remodeled some of the old buildings into offices, carefully preserving the Chinese style with rich lacquer and grill work. A brace of lawyers has already moved in and the name of brother Calvin, an accountant, is on the shingle in front of one of the doors. Golden letters proclaim on darkened windows nearby that two herbalists, Choon Sue and L.T. Sue, once practiced here, that noodles were manufactured, and that the China Cafe, operated by the Low family, once had an entrance on the Alley, although it now fronts on Seventh Street. ~ Unless the Wings offer a tour of the wine cellar or the visitor dines in the new dining room, he will not see much of the below-ground-level rooms where opium was smoked and illicit gambling took place. Escape tunnels led across the lots at the rear of the Alley and were used when the police became too nosy. There is a legend that one of these tunnels gave access to a boarding house for young ladies who were ^students" when the investigators closed in, but practiced the oldest profession when the coast was clear. ~ Only four of the old Chinese families are now represented in Hanford, the Wings, the Youngs, the Sues and the Yings. ~ The Wings have invested the lifetimes as well as the money of three generations in China Alley. Through their efforts it is becoming one of the San Joaquin Valley ^s historic attractions. It is alive and well. The Wings have vowed it will never, never die. ~ joseph E. doctor 15 a Kansan by birth but he has lived in Tulare County since 1925. He is a local history buff, a former president of the Tuldre County Historical Society, editor of the centennial edition of the Visalia Times-Delta and author of Shotguns on Sunday. Currently he is administrative assistant to State Senator Howard Way, When he is not busy, he operates a retail clothing business. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy^s Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Santa Barbara ~ By Noel Peattie/Number Ten in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ The Chinese came to Santa Barbara in the i86o's, somewhat later than they did to Northern California. Their interest was in Jobs: farming, fishing and domestic work. As a Barbareno, I must insist that the climate brought them too, but their impact here was much the same as on other parts of the state: here were the Chinese houseboys (who worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for $25 a week, sending home to China as much as they could spare); the Chinese New Year celebrations with their dragon and fireworks, the tongs, the laundries and restaurants, and the occasional character who was long remembered in the little Channel city. ~ One of the oldest local families is that of Jimmy Lee Chung, who to this day runs a restaurant on Canon Perdido Street in the heart of town. His grandfather came in 1862, and the family has never moved from Santa Barbara's Chinatown. This region, surrounding the old Presidio, is today and was in my boyhood, an area of little houses and Buddhist churches perched defiantly on the edge of the town's cultural and shopping center. I can myself remember the green dragon being carried in the Fiesta parade, and the house marked KUO MIN TANG OF CHINA, that no one was ever seen entering or leaving. ~ ~ But as comparative newcomers to the city, we didn^t know the half of our Chinatown. Old records preserve the memory of Gin Chow (1837-1933), prophet and son of a prophet, who left his native Singcheng near Canton to come to Lompoc in Santa Barbara County. He battled the Southern Pacific Railroad over the price of his land—and won; he issued weather predictions superior to those of the U.S. Weather Bureau; he predicted the Tokyo earthquake of 1923, and in 1924 posted a prediction on the bulletin board of the post office, announcing that Santa Barbara would be struck by a severe earthquake on 29 June, 1925. At 6:3o that morning the earthquake arrived with a rumble and roar and demolished every house on State Street. After that, Barbarenos walked in awe of Gin Chow; when he issued an almanac in 1932 it became a best seller. He climaxed a brilliant (if mystifying) career by correctly predicting the day of his own death. ~ Tong is a word that most Americans have assumed refers to an institution of the past. But the tongs still exist, though as peaceful benevolent associations; two still operate in Santa Barbara. In 1923, the city had its last long war which happened as follows: Two tongs, the Hop Sing and the Bing Kong, ruled the city's lotteries, fan tan games, and laundry-men from a big joss house and Chinese Masonic Temple at 27 East Canon Perdido Street. They took turns, year by year, leasing the property. One autumn night the Hop Sing long met in the joss house, and faced with the expiration of their lucrative lease, decided they were not going to give it up. The Bing Kong, meeting across the street, got word of their rival's plans, and had determined to thwart them. Accordingly, they hired two hatchet men from San Francisco and installed them in a parked car, watching the exit door of the joss house. Meanwhile the Bing Kong were meeting with a young white criminal lawyer, W. P. Butcher, asking him to defend the two Chinese on a murder charge—before the murder had been committed. ~ Around midnight, as the lawyer and his clients debated the problem, a crackle of gunfire was heard, and they all rushed outdoors. Sprawled in front of the joss house lay the body of Gin Han, President of the Hop Sing long. As it happened, the Rose Theater next door had Just let out its last patrons; consequently, twenty-five persons witnessed the shooting and saw the assassins toss their gloves and revolvers into the street and speed away. ~ Next day the getaway car was located, two Chinese were found hiding in a nearby barn, and the case seemed solved. However, there was more to ~ ~ ~ ~ From a lithograph courtesy of John Howell. Chinatown location index added. ~ come. At the grand jury hearing, the defendants pleaded not guilty, claiming they were victims of mistaken identity. When the district attorney protested that he had twenty-Eve witnesses to the crime, the defendants' lawyer sent the prisoners into the Jury room, along with eight other Chinese, none of whom had any connection with the case. ~ The Witnesses looked into the ten Chinese faces, and when they were asked to pick out the guilty pair, a long silence ensued. In the end the district attorney had no choice but to release the entire group. For once the law, that most inscrutable institution of the Occident, had come face to face with the inscrutable Orient. ~ ~ The next year, 1926, the Chinese Six Companies outlawed long wars, and the Santa Barbara Chinatown entered a quieter era. The two tongs are still active, but the Chinese population has scattered elsewhere in town. Today only a few small shops and import houses recall the days when this was the only center of Chinese activity in the city. ~ Further details of the life of Santa Barbara's Chinatown will be found in the Noticias of the Santa Barbara Historical Society, v. 13, no. 4, for Autumn, 1967. Part of their museum in the Old Mission contains a Chinese room, with Han scrolls and early pioneers' equipment, given by a distinguished resident. Material for this essay was provided by Ms. Jan Mullen of the Reference Staff of the Santa Barbara Public Library, to whom the writer wishes to express the most grateful thanks. ~ noel peattie is a librarian at the University of California at Davis, and a former resident of Santa Barbara. At Davis, .Mr. Peattie is responsible for the Ethnic Studies Unit and, on the side, he is editor and publisher of ^Sipapu\a newsletter far librarians on ethnic studies and the counterculture. P^Ioel is the youngest son of two distinguished writers, Donald Culross Peattie and Louise (J^edfield) Peattie. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy's Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ ~ Cathay in Eldorado: the Chinese in California ~ Los Angeles ~ By W.W. Robinson/Number Eleven in the 1972 Keepsake Series The Book Club of California ~ The federal census of 1850 shows two Chinese young men, Alluce and Ahfou, living in the Los Angeles household of a merchant named Robert Haley. Harris Newmark in his classic Sixty Years in Southern California relates that his brother Joseph in 1854 brought with him to Los Angeles a Chinese servant whom he paid $100 a month. Newmark adds that ^as far as I know, this Mongolian was the first to come to our city." ~ However that may be, the rise of Los Angeles' Chinatown—that is, Old Chinatown—was under way in the i86os and i87os. It took over an area that sloped east of the Plaza and that was being abandoned by the Cal-ifornios. Townhouses that had been the pride of rancheros like Don Vicente Lugo and Don Ygnacio del Valle became interesting segments of the Chinese quarter. Likewise vineyards that stretched east of Alameda Street. ~ Many of these early day Chinese had served as construction workers for the Central Pacific Railroad and later for the Southern Pacific as it built its way into Southern California. In the Los Angeles area they took Jobs as cooks, house-boys, servants in hotels, or became vegetable growers and peddlers, and laundrymen. Their business community and social center was Chinatown, which by the i88os and i89os had become an exotic and fascinating place for visitors and a place and way of life for Chinese mer- ~ ~ chants and other Oriental residents. By the early i90os Chinatown had a large population—perhaps 7,000 at the most—and was a colorful but congested section of Los Angeles. Newspaper stories tended to play up long wars, gambling, opium smoking, and the young prostitutes of Sanchez and Alameda streets. ~ Since Gold Rush days anti-Chinese sentiment'had been growing in California. Chinese suffered great harassment through legislation and through the acts of individual Californians young and old. Mob activities in Los Angeles climaxed in 1871 when a mob murdered more than a score of Chinese in the Plaza area. The coroners Jury found that the victims died of strangulation at the hands of parties unknown. When suits were brought against Los Angeles, under a statute making cities responsible for damage done by mobs, the California Supreme Court ruled that the Chinese had failed to notify the mayor of the impending riot and that their conduct had precipitated it. ~ In spite of riots, harassment, and intolerance, however, many warm friendships developed between Chinese and non-Chinese, and there was always recognition of the excellent business skills of the Orientals. ~ The construction of the Union Station and its huge pattern of railroad lines—completed in 1939—destroyed that part of Old Chinatown lying east of Alameda Street. That part between the Plaza and Los Angeles Street was gone by 1949. Today three centers of Chinese business and activities have developed. ^New Chinatown^ on the west side of North Broadway, while largely contrived for tourists—with its dazzling lights, colors, pagoda-style architecture, restaurants, stores, and fun spots—is a real Chinatown and a center for Chinese activities. A short distance north the Plaza, between North Spring and Upper Main streets is a small Chinese-American area with Oriental curio and Jewelry shops and restaurants. Hollywood has drawn upon this area for actors. A third Chinese center is the City Market District, very busy in early morning hours when farmers in trucks bring vegetables and fruit to sell. Here, too, are produce houses, restaurants, and homes. ~ Oldtimers among Angelenos, remembering Old Chinatown, like to recall the restaurants with dragon-like Jaw entrances, the gaudy newsposters on brick walls, the skull caps, queues, the click of counters from backroom gambling games, the Joss house, the theater, and particularly the street parades at £esta time or at Chinese New Year when the long, undulating dragon was the feature. ~ ~ ~ Chinese printing office, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Title Insurance Company ~ ~ W. W. robinson is a farmer Club "Board member and a longtime resident of Los Angeles. He is a distinguished historian with emphasis on the Tranches of California and of county and community histories. Mr. T^phinson has been a frequent contributor to the CluVs Keepsake series. ~ This series of Keepsakes consists of eleven folders issued by The Book Club of California to its members during 1972. The series was under the general direction of Martin Mitau, and was designed and printed by Clifford Burke at his Cranium Press in San Francisco. The composition is by Mackenzie & Harris, Inc., and the typeface is Goudy^s Italian Old Style. © by The Book Club of California. ~ As this Keepsake was being printed, W. W. T^phinson died in Los Angeles at the age of81. lt W. W. *) was a staunch supporter of the Club, contributing to our Quarterly and to several Keepsakes. He was a member of the Club since 1950.