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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Leandro in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp

Lake Chabot Historical Walk

 
 
Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
1. Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp Marker
Captions: Items found at the encampment: Lid to an opium box; Chinese Coins.
Inscription. In 1979 a renovation of Chabot dam unearthed a century-old Chinese encampment buried in the creek embankment below. California State University Hayward (now called California State University, East Bay) was contracted and students excavated over 60,000 artifacts revealing the once invisible life, diet, and work habits of the 800 Chinese people who worked on Chabot dam from 1874-1892.

Soy pots and stoneware rice bowls spoke of familiar foods. Remnants of imported turtle and perhaps wild cat disclosed the use of traditional medicines for vitality. Opium bowls and paraphernalia pointed to the enjoyment of an ancient pastime. Rusting pieces of metal tools communicated the similarity of tasks performed by many in the gold mines of the Sierra and railways.

The excavators named the historic work camp “Yema-po,” Cantonese for “wild-horse slope.” This acknowledges the role of the Chinese laborers in running horses across the dam to compact the soil during its construction, one of their many contributions. Just as the name “Yema Po” preserves their cultural heritage, we too can preserve their memory in the stories in of the dam.

Did you know that of the 20,000 animal bones found at Yema-po, 70% were pig, revealing a diet much heavier in pork than their Euro-American
Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, February 3, 2014
2. Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp Marker
counterparts? Also found were the remnants of cuttlefish, duck, turtle, and rare fish like the puffer fish.

 
Erected 2012 by East Bay Regional Park District.
 
Location. 37° 43.793′ N, 122° 7.423′ W. Marker is in San Leandro, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Estudillo Avenue. Click for map. The one mile Lake Chabot Historical Walk begins at the parking lot at the end of Estudillo Avenue. This marker is about ¾ mile from the beginning of the trail. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1799 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro CA 94577, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tunnel No. 1 Control Shaft (within shouting distance of this marker); A Zoo, a Monkey, and a Mansion Here Too! (within shouting distance of this marker); Taming the Waters’ Flow (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Of Fins and Flippers (about 600 feet away); Chabot Dam (approx. 0.2 miles away); Transporting the Water (approx. 0.2 miles away); To Build a Dam (approx. 0.2 miles away); Filtration Basins (approx. ¼ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in San Leandro.
 
Also see . . .  Lake Chabot Historical Walk. (Submitted on February 21, 2014.)
 
Categories. Asian Americans
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 343 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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