Ghost Town Explorer
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CHINESE CAMP CALIFORNIA
Occupied and operated by Chinese immigrants

Occupied Historic Town
Tuolumne County
Circa 1850's To Present

Chinese Camp was originally called Camp Washington by the white prospectors who arrived there first. Chinese began pouring in to the area in the 1850's via San Francisco. Soon after the camp became known as Chinese Camp, or Camp Chinee. During the height of the California Gold Rush, Chinese Camp had grown to an approximated 5,000 residents of mostly Chinese persuasion. The Chinese were quick to establish gambling shacks; Houses of prostitution, and opium dens. By 1852 two hotels had been established in Chinese Camp.

As the placer mines played out the town transitioned into a trading center with a large Chinese quarter. It was preferred over the towns higher in the mountains because of its easy access. In 1854 a school was built to educate the many children in town. As the 1850's came to a close several lodges had been built, but most of the larger businesses were owned by whites. In 1855 a little Catholic Church was built on a knoll beside the present highway.

As Chinese Camp grew and gathered the trade of outlying mining communities and ranches, roads became of great importance and wagon roads began to replace pack trails. An act of Legislature, approved May 12, 1853, made it possible to form a joint stock company for the purpose of constructing plank and turnpike roadsť in the counties of Tuolumne and Mariposa. Improved conditions attracted regular stage services, linking towns in the Sierras with Sonora to the East.

The town had grown and prospered. Unfortunately this success attracted much of the world's riffraff. They seldom worked. It was easier to hold up a miner or business and take his gold or money. Among those who pillaged these parts were known as Black Bart and Joaquin Murieta. By the late seventies the settlement of Chinese Camp had completely evolved from a mining camp into a reasonably staid family town with all of the comforts and many of the luxuries obtainable at the time.

Much the case of many boom towns of the time, Chinese Camp had been practically demolished by fire on more than one occasion, but for the most part, was rebuilt of more durable materials. As the gold rush came to an end, the population began to decrease steadily. Mining, except in a few large quartz mines, was a thing of the past and men had left for the surrounding lumber camps or boom towns on the eastern side of the Sierras.

The key to exploring here is, get off the main road (hwy-120) and comb the residential streets. Be sure not to disturb the towns residents.

 

Ghost Town Explorer
Remaining Residence in the Center of Town

Ghost Town Explorer
Original building in the center of towns main street

Ghost Town Explorer
Some indicate this bld. was a Bordelo, others say it was a Hotel


Ghost Town Explorer

Ghost Town Explorer

Ghost Town Explorer
Turn of the Century Residence probably built in early 1900's

Ghost Town Explorer

Ghost Town Explorer
Pony Express Station - later served as the towns post office


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