Locke Boarding House

Point of Interest - California

Once known as the Jack Ross Boardinghouse, the Locke Boarding House was constructed in 1909, prior to the formal development of the town of Locke. Chinese men working on the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad boarded in the small establishment which was located near the Southern Pacific Railroad shipping warehouse. The Kuramoto family operated the boarding house from 1921 until they were interned during World War II in 1942. The family did not return to resume operation of the Boarding House after the war.

maps

Boundary Map of the Mother Lode BLM Field Office in California. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Mother Lode - Boundary Map

Boundary Map of the Mother Lode BLM Field Office in California. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

Brochure of Locke Boarding House Museum in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.Locke Boarding House Museum - Brochure

Brochure of Locke Boarding House Museum in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Once known as the Jack Ross Boardinghouse, the Locke Boarding House was constructed in 1909, prior to the formal development of the town of Locke. Chinese men working on the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad boarded in the small establishment which was located near the Southern Pacific Railroad shipping warehouse. The Kuramoto family operated the boarding house from 1921 until they were interned during World War II in 1942. The family did not return to resume operation of the Boarding House after the war.
Our Mission Locke Boarding House The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Locke Boarding House, formerly called “Sam’s Rooms,” interprets the history of Locke and its residents—the Sacramento River delta’s California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (916) 776-1828. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Discover the many states of California.™ Locke Boarding House 13916 Main Street Walnut Grove, CA 95690 Lat: 38.250556 Long: -121.509444 (916) 776-1828 or 776-1661 © 2015 California State Parks major workforce. ocke, the last remaining rural Chinese town in the United States, lies along a peaceful bend on a bank of the Sacramento River. The river, once teeming with ships carrying produce bound across the country, is now more likely to be dotted with excursion boats, fishing skiffs, and an occasional houseboat. At the north end of this one-of-a-kind town, the two-story Locke Boarding House stands against the levee. The building once housed farm workers who picked and processed the asparagus and pears that grew in the peat-rich delta soils. California State Parks honors 100 years of Locke’s Asian cultural history in this interpretive center and its exhibits. lOCKE HISTORY Plains Miwok Before the 1848 gold discovery, the traditional lands of the Plains Miwok covered the lower Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers, and the Sacramento River from Rio Vista to Freeport. No evidence has been found of Native California Indians having lived precisely in the Locke area. The Plains Miwok lived in conical bark dwellings in higher elevations; in lower areas of the central Sierra, they lived in homes covered with tule (bulrush). After California’s statehood, some Miwok were moved to Central Valley locations. Some worked on ranches and as farm laborers. Many Miwok descendants still occupy communities in the surrounding areas, reviving their languages and maintaining their cultural identities. Chinese Migration to Gold Mountain After James Marshall’s 1848 gold discovery on the American River, rumors reached China that gold nuggets could be picked for the taking at California’s Gum Saan or “Gold Mountain.” War- and famine-weary Chinese left home, hoping to make a quick fortune in gold here and return to support their families. In reality, many of these men never again laid eyes on China. After fruitless stints digging gold mines, the industrious Chinese were pressed into service to build railroads and to labor on farms. The Delta Levees The Swamp and Overflow Act, passed in 1861, encouraged construction of levees in the Sacramento Building the delta levees River delta — converting its marshes to farm land. Many Chinese immigrants had come from Chungshan in the Guangdong (formerly Canton) province on the Pearl River delta in China, so their farming expertise fit them to this task. Between 1860 and 1880, Chinese workers drained and reclaimed 88,000 acres of rich river-bottom peat soil — ideal for agriculture. Many of the levee builders stayed to work the farms. Photo courtesy of California Dept. of Water Resources L Lee Bing and family Walnut Grove By the mid-1880s, delta towns had concentrated areas where farm workers lived. Asian immigrants stayed close to their own countrymen. Often called “Chinatowns” because of their predominantly Chinese population or nihonmachi for Japanese groups, these places often developed within or outside diversely populated cities. Sentiment against Chinese immigrants grew. Unfortunately, angry EuropeanAmericans blamed Chinese laborers for a lack of available jobs. In 1882 the federal Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, banning further Chinese immigration. Then, in 1913 the State of California enacted its Alien Land Law, preventing all foreign-born aliens — including the Chinese — from owning land. In October 1915, a fire in the delta town of Walnut Grove almost completely destroyed its Chinese settlement and a portion of its Japantown, sending some people to seek shelter in surrounding areas. The Japanese and a group of Sze Yup Chinese stayed and rebuilt in Walnut Grove, even though they could not own the land. Chinese farm workers from Chungshan province had occupied an area called Lockeport, a mile up the road from Walnut Grove. Lockeport was named for its landowner, pear grower George Locke. A committee of Chungshan merchants headed by Lee Bing, owner of the Dai Loy Gambling Hall, approached Locke’s heir, George

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