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#770 - Chinese Temple
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Touchstone
N 39° 30.821 W 121° 33.702
10S E 623641 N 4374770
Quick Description: A historic Chinese Temple on a lonely backroad in historic Oroville, CA
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 10/24/2006 11:05:21 PM
Waymark Code: WMWBP
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Marky
Views: 142

Long Description:

The Official Plaque reads:

Dedicated in the spring of 1863, this building served as a temple of worship for 10,000 Chinese then living here. Funds for its erection and furnishings were provided by the Emperor and Empress of China - local Chinese labor built the structure. The building was deeded to the City of Oroville in 1935 by the Chinese residents.

   Bok Kai Temple

Built in the spring of 1863, the Oroville Chinese Temple served as a place of worship for a community of 10,000 Chinese residents. Funds for the Temple and furnishings were provided by the Emperor and Empress of China and local Chinese labor built the structure.

A major flood in 1907 decimated the Chinese community so that most Chinese left Oroville. Some returned to China while others moved to Sacramento or San Francisco. The Chan Family then assumed responsibility for the Temple, It was deeded to the City of Oroville in 1937 and it was first opened to visitors at the time of California's Centennial in 1949.

A new addition to the temple was completed in 1968. Tapestry Hall was built to display the extensive collection of embroidered tapestries, parade parasols and other objects of beauty and value which characterize the best of Chinese folk art.

The temple includes three chapels, with the main chapel dedicated to the worship of various faiths including Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Along with the temple is a magnificent garden, which is designed as a place for meditation, with plantings that originated in China.

In 1999, Gloria Gee approached The Bancroft Library with a novel proposal. She had learned that Bancroft in conjunction with the California Historical Society, and supported by a grant from the Library of Congress's Ameritech Project, was creating a digital archive of approximately 12,500 images documenting Chinese immigration to California and the American West (1850-1920). She wondered if Bancroft might be willing to provide a comparable digital archive documenting the rich collections of the Oroville Chinese Temple, which had been central in her own family's history.




The Bancroft Library was willing to develop such a project if the City of Oroville would agree. After several meetings, it was clear to the City of Oroville and to Bancroft that this innovative proposal would provide a major cultural benefit within California and beyond, providing through the World Wide Web access to the three buildings at the Oroville Chinese Temple, and the collections of Chinese cultural artifacts that are preserved there.




With agreement in place, Gloria Gee, who is a second generation Cal alumna, and as Executor of her mother's estate, directed Mabel L. Gee's gift to support the digital archive project in memory of her parents Edward W. Gee and Mabel L. Gee. This was the first time a member of the California community had approached The Bancroft Library about supporting such a project, but the results are outstanding and may serve as a model for future collaboration between The Bancroft Library and the California community.



Funding from the Estate of Mabel L. Gee was complemented by funds from the Library of Congress Ameritech Project and the images of Oroville Chinese Temple treasures have been fully integrated into the Online Archive of California and are now accessible throughout the world. We anticipate that the strengths of the Oroville collections will attract a growing number of visitors to the Chinese Temple to examine and study this major part of California Cultural History.

Marker Number: 770.00

Marker Name: Chinese Temple

County: Butte

Has Official CA Plaque: yes

Marker Dedication Date: 06/20/1962

1500 Broderick St, Oroville, CA

Website: [Web Link]

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