Weaverville Joss House

State Historic Park - California

Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park is a state park located in the center of the town of Weaverville, California. The site is a Taoist temple which is still in use, and is the oldest Chinese temple in California.

maps

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Weaverville Ranger District South in Shasta-Trinity National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).Shasta-Trinity MVUM - Weaverville South 2014

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Weaverville Ranger District South in Shasta-Trinity National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=457 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weaverville_Joss_House_State_Historic_Park Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park is a state park located in the center of the town of Weaverville, California. The site is a Taoist temple which is still in use, and is the oldest Chinese temple in California.
Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park Our Mission 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. The characters above the Weaverville Joss House entry read, “Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds.” California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (530) 623-5284. 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 Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park 630 Main Street • P.O. Box 1217 Weaverville, CA 96093 (530) 623-5284 © 2007 California State Parks (Rev. 2015) I n the small, historic mining community of Weaverville, the Weaverville Joss House is a vivid reminder of the Chinese contribution to this part of California. Above the front door, Chinese characters in luminous gold translate to read, “The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds.” Located about 50 miles west of Redding on Highway 299, the Weaverville Joss House is the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California. The area usually has sunny and crisp autumn weather. Rain and even snow fall frequently during most winters. From November through March, low temperatures range from 30 to 40 degrees, with highs of 40 to 60 degrees. Spring weather varies, but pleasant days are the rule, while summers are often hot and dry. A Taoist ceremony presented by the Ching Chung Taoist Association of America Weaverville’s First People The Wintu people have lived in the Weaverville area for about 4,000 years. Closely related to the Nomlaki and Patwin to the south, the Chimariko to the west, and the Hupa to the northwest, the Wintu people traditionally lived along the Trinity River. Here they found everything they needed to thrive. Seasonally, they hunted deer, elk, and small game, fished for salmon and steelhead, and harvested berries, seeds, and other plants. The Wintu were known for basketry that was both beautiful and useful; they traded with various native groups living in coastal and valley areas of California. The Wintu way of life was forever changed with the incursion of trappers and settlers ready to exploit this resource-rich area. By the early 1800s, nearly three-quarters of the Wintu people had succumbed to diseases to which they had no immunity. The 1848 California gold rush brought even greater changes for the native people, most notably the loss of their traditional lands and culture. Today their descendants are reviving the old native languages, crafts, and traditions. The Chinese Come to California News of the 1848 gold discovery in California stirred China as it did the rest of the world. For some time, southern China had been experiencing economic hardships, and emigration to the California gold fields seemed a solution. Thousands came, hoping to find gold and return to China as men of wealth. Chinese immigrants, mostly from the province of Guangdong, established claims in Trinity County. Despite the high ($4 monthly) tax on foreign miners, most hardworking Chinese were able to send their earnings back to their families in China. Unfortunately, not all Chinese miners flourished in the gold fields. This remote, unforgiving environment brought many others to early and often unmarked graves. A number of Chinese immigrants did not go to the gold fields. Some became entrepreneurs, opening grocery stores, doctors’ offices, barbershops, bakeries, and restaurants in Weaverville. Before long, Weaverville had an opera house and a puppet theater to accommodate traveling troupes of Chinese entertainers. Chinese War of 1854 Because of their history of clan associations, the Chinese banded together in groups according to the area in China they had come from. In Weaverville, four separate companies — the Yong-Wa, Se-Yep, NengYong, and Sam-Yep — were formed. In June 1854, one group was accused of cheating the others in the Weaverville Chinese gambling hall. Animosity grew until a battle was called to settle the dispute. Carrying weapons crafted by local blacksmiths, the two groups met on the battlefield. The Chinese War of 1854 saw the smaller group defeat the larger one, with eight men dead and another 20 wounded. Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds The term “joss” is believed to be a corruption of the Portuguese word “Deus,” meaning God. Thus, a temple where Chinese gods were kept and worshipped was called a joss house. About 1853, the Chinese residents of Weaverville erected a small Taoist joss house that they named Won Lim Miao (Won Lim Temple). Taoism, which subscribes to

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