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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cambria in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Preserving a Bit of History

(Chinese Temple)

 
 
Preserving a Bit of History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 5, 2013
1. Preserving a Bit of History Marker
Captions: Chinese locals prepare to serve a BBQ pig for a cultural holiday. (top left); Condition of Temple prior to restoration by Greenspace. (insert); Original site of Chinese Center Temple Circa 1890’s. (encircled, lower right).
Inscription. This property was once Cambria’s historical “Chinese Center,” the social focus for workers who harvested seaweed and abalone for shipment back to China, or worked in local quicksilver (mercury) mines in the mountains.

Here local Chinese once celebrated holidays, gambled, socialized, and took refuge from the coastal storms. Buildings included a bunk house, laundries, cabins and a structure people have called the “Chinese Temple.” It had both fraternal and religious uses. Of the structures that served the Chinese Center, only the Chinese Temple remains. Original buildings like this dating from the 1890s are rare in California.

Chinese left the site about 1916, and the Warren family purchased the property. The older and less stable buildings were eventually torn down, with only the “Red House,” familiar to Cambrians remaining. Its core dated from between 1895-1906. About 1919 a building from Main Street was moved and joined to it to form a kitchen. Then in 1925 the former Chinese temple was moved from near the creek and added – making one dwelling out of three parts. This composite structure was occupied until 1970. In 2001 the dilapidated portions of the Red House were demolished leaving only the original temple building to be restored, by Greenspace – The Cambria Land
Preserving a Bit of History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 5, 2013
2. Preserving a Bit of History Marker
Trust, to its historical setting and appearance.
 
Erected by Greenspace - The Cambria Land Trust.
 
Location. 35° 33.776′ N, 121° 4.899′ W. Marker is in Cambria, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Center Street and Hesperian Lane, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2252 Center Street, Cambria CA 93428, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cambria Veterans' Memorial (approx. 0.8 miles away); Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Lens (approx. 0.9 miles away); Nitt Witt Ridge (approx. one mile away); The Town of Harmony (approx. 5 miles away); Sebastian Store (approx. 8.3 miles away); Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument (approx. 8.4 miles away but has been reported missing); Point Piedras Blancas, A Recent Colony (approx. 12.1 miles away); Home of Capt. James Cass (approx. 12.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cambria.
 
More about this marker. The Chinese Temple is in Greenspace Creekside Reserve and is accessed from Center Street.
 
Categories. Asian Americans
 
The "Red House" image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 5, 2013
3. The "Red House"
Old Well image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 5, 2013
4. Old Well
Stone-Lined Household Well Built by an Early Occupant of the Property (Circa 1875)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 8, 2013, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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