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Isleton in Sacramento County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Isletonís Historic Old Town
 
Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
1. Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker
 
Inscription. During the gold rush period of 1849 Isleton was a sea of swaying tules and peat bogs. Chinese immigrants lured to California for gold stayed on to begin a hand labor task of dredging and constructing levees. When the water was pumped out, these islands were formed creating what Isleton residents now call home.

In 1874 Dr. Josiah Poole founded the town and built a wharf the following year, giving Isleton access to the outside world and farming began.

The Chinese settled in the town and were joined by Japanese immigrants. Their original home sites were on Jackson Slough Road, south of the present historical district, but were destroyed by fire in 1915. The town was rebuilt at the present location only to burn again in 1926. It was rebuilt once again, however this time the buildings were constructed with metal exterior siding as a fire precaution.

This unique community continues on today with the restoration of these old buildings, reflecting their original heritage.
Dedicated March 4, 2000
by
New Helvetia Chapter #5
E Clampus Vitus
In association with the Isleton Historical Society
Satisfactory

 
Erected 2000 by New Helvetia Chapter #5, E Vitus Clampus in associtation with the Isleton Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the
 
Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Erik Bigglestone, September 8, 2010
2. Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker
Another close-up view of the marker.
 
E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 38° 9.739′ N, 121° 36.569′ W. Marker is in Isleton, California, in Sacramento County. Marker is on Second Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 404 Second Street, Isleton CA 95641, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hotel Del Rio and Casino (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bing Kong Tong Society Building (about 700 feet away); 66 Main Street (approx. 0.3 miles away); Pony Express River Streamer “New World” (approx. 4.4 miles away); Humphrey the Humpback Whale (approx. 4.4 miles away); Veterans of Foreign Wars (approx. 4.4 miles away); Sacramento River Exploration (approx. 7.6 miles away); Delta Transmission Towers/Delta Cross Channel Gates (approx. 8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Isleton.
 
Also see . . .
1. History of Isleton. Through the evolution of time, Isleton changed in many ways. Once a thriving town on the Sacramento River (rather sizable in its day), commerce and trade used the waterways as a primary source of transport. Argonauts journeyed from San Francisco up the Sacramento River, bound for the Mother Lode country in search of the Elephant (gold). As people flooded into this new hard land, the need for commodities of fruits and vegetables provided others an opportunity through cultivating the rich land of the Delta. (Submitted on April 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 
 
Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
3. Isletonís Historic Old Town Marker
 

2. Isleton Brannon-Andrus Historical Society. This site contributes vintage photos of Isleton and its buildings. (Submitted on September 28, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Description of Photo #4
Looking north after entering Isleton, the Gardner Building is on the left and the Bank of Isleton, on the right. Isleton's first building, the Gardner Building, was erected in 1878 by Philip Hogate Gardiner who had come to California in 1868. It was stocked with general merchandise. The vertical wooden sign "Hardware" was prominently placed on the front of the building. In 1879 the building was the site of the first post office, of which Mr. Gardiner was appointed postmaster, a position he held for life. Over the Gardiner store on the second floor was the IOOF (Odd Fellows) Hall.

Just across the street from the Gardiner Building is the brick Bank of Isleton, erected in 1918 by James Wilber Gardiner, son of Philip Hogate Gardiner. He became the president of the enterprise. It later became the Bank of America (brick building removed to make room for the parking lot of the present Bank of Rio Vista.
    — Submitted April 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
 
Isletonís Historic Main Street Buildings Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
4. Isletonís Historic Main Street Buildings
 

2. Description of Photo #5
In this Asian American district gambling halls owned by the Bing Kung Tong provided employment and recreation for the Chinese and Japanese Americans during the 1930ís. There were four gambling halls that fronted Main Street, west of F Street. Patrons of the gambling halls were provided hot cups of tea and were served one of two meals a day, free of charge. Not only Chinese workers frequented the hall. Filipinos, Japanese, East Indians and Caucasians also visited the gambling parlors.

This two-story frame building at 33 Main Street was covered with pressed tin sheathing. The original front faÁade had a recessed, windowless entryway with several doors. This building and those adjacent were 3 of the 4 gambling establishments. Built after the 1926 fire the building has been designated as part of the Asian American Historic District.


The First Chinatown was located near Jackson Slough, southwest of town in 1878. A fire occurred in 1917, destroying the entire area. Yee Toy, whose father relocated from Truckee in 1885, arranged with James Gardiner, member of the pioneer Gardiner family, to relocate to their present site on Main Street. Mr. Gardiner owned the land and leased each parcel to the Chinese. The Californian Alien Land Act of 1913 did not allow the Chinese to own the land. Mr. Gardiner decided
 
Historic Isleton Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
5. Historic Isleton
1930 Second & B St., Gardiner Building on left, Bank of America is on right.
This photo and description are on display in the window of the building at 12 Main Street. See Comment #1
 
to sell the land to the Chinese in the mid-1940ís . Because the first generation was not a citizen, the land was purchased in the name of the American-born son or daughter. A fire in 1926 started in the Chinese section, consuming the entire two blocks of the Asian District. The buildings of todayís historic Main Street were constructed after the fire.

This two-story frame building covered with tin sheathing at 33 Main Street was one of the four gambling houses owned by the local Bing Kung Tong Association. As the canneries closed and the population declined, the gambling houses closed in the 1950ís. It is now privately owned and in the midst of restoration.
    — Submitted April 24, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.

 
Additional keywords. Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans
 
Asian American Gambling Hall Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
6. Asian American Gambling Hall
Located at 33 Main Street
 
 
Asian American Section of Isleton Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, April 21, 2009
7. Asian American Section of Isleton
This photo with its descriptions are on display in the window of the gambling hall at 33 Main Street.
See Comment #2
 
 
Buildings Along Main Street Photo, Click for full size
By Erik Bigglestone, September 8, 2010
8. Buildings Along Main Street
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on April 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,506 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on April 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   2. submitted on September 9, 2010, by Erik Bigglestone of Contra Costa County, California.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   7. submitted on April 24, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   8. submitted on September 9, 2010, by Erik Bigglestone of Contra Costa County, California.
 
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