Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chinese Mason Building, Walnut Grove California

Chinese Mason Building,
River Road elevation, Walnut Grove.

Photo by Mary L. Manieri for Par Environmental Services

This building housed the Bing Kong Tong Benevolent Association and served as the social center for Chinatown. It was constructed soon after the 1937 fire to replace an earlier temple and benevolent society on the same spot.

Between 1850 and 1880, operators of mining camps and railroad construction projects eagerly hired Chinese workers until European American workers began to demonstrate bitter opposition. Although prejudice and violence drove the Chinese out of mining, they played a major role in the construction of the western section of the transcontinental railroad. When the railroad was completed in 1869, some of those Chinese laborers were hired to work on an extensive levee project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.