The Eastern Sierra

Chinese, Alpine, Mono, Inyo, Kern

Alpine County

China Bar, Alpine County.
China Bar is located in Markleeville Creek just outside of the town of Markleeville. Local history indicates it had been a Chinese mining site. Reference: Office of Historic Preservation 1979a.

Markleeville Chinese Cemetery, Alpine County.
Possibly dating to the 1860's or 1870's, Markleeville Chinese Cemetery is thought to be near the junction of Highway 4 and Highway 89 across from the Morning Glory Mine near the town of Markleeville. It was the only Chinese cemetery in the county. However, the site was destroyed when highway construction took place during the 1950's. Reference: Howatt 1966: 66; Office of Historic Preservation 1979a; Thornburg 1998.

Inyo County
China Garden Spring, Inyo County.
China Garden Spring is within Darwin Canyon about one mile south of the community of Darwin Falls. Water from the spring was used by Chinese to grow vegetables in the late 1880's. At that time, there were three structures next to the spring that were used by the Chinese. By 1987, only one structure remained. Reference: Nash Collection; United States Geological Survey 1987.

China Gardens Spring, Inyo County.
China Gardens Spring emerges from an alluvial fan located in the China Lake Naval Weapons Center area. The water was used by Chinese to grow vegetables that were sold in nearby mining towns. See China Gardens Wash, Inyo County. Reference: United States Board on Geographic Names 1985: 2; United States Geological Survey 1982.

China Gardens Wash has water flowing down it for about three miles where it joins Darwin Wash. China Gardens Spring is the water source. See China Gardens Spring, Inyo County. Reference: United States Geological Survey 1982.
China Hill, Inyo County.
A hill next to the Cerro Gordo Mine was the site of a small concentration of Chinese who worked at the mine.  It became known as China Hill. Some of the Chinese were laborers while others were wood cutters and stackers for the mine. The wood was used for mine timbers and as an energy source to accomplish preliminary smelting of the silver ore. Eventually, about one hundred square miles of pinyon and juniper forest were removed from around the mine. Remnants of the canvas-roofed, stacked-rock walls of the structures can still be seen. See China Stope, Inyo County. Reference: Likes and Day 1975; Mine Superintendent 1990. Photo.
China Ranch, Inyo County.
China Ranch, near Tecopa, is identifiable by five buildings along the banks of a perennial stream called China Ranch Wash. The flood plain of the wash provided good soil for vegetable growing during the 1880's. There is still mining activity in the area. See China Ranch Wash, Inyo County. Reference: Palmer 1980: 16; United States Geological Survey 1983.
China Ranch Road, Inyo County.
The road begins at China Ranch and eventually joins Furnace Creek Road. See China Ranch, Inyo County. Reference: United States Geological States 1983

 China Ranch Wash, Inyo County.
China Ranch Wash is an east-to-west flowing perennial stream. It merges with the Amargosa River in the Sperry Hills. See China Ranch, Inyo County. Reference: United States Geological Survey 1983.
China Stope, Inyo County.
China Stope gained its name from the Chinese laborers who were buried by the collapse of a stope at the Cerro Gordo Mine. A stope is a large, underground room that results from the upward removal of rock and ore from within a mine. Years later, excavation of the collapsed stope yielded the bones of the Chinese which had become green in color due to minerals in the water that moved through the collapse. The event prompted the myth of the Green Chinese. See China Hill, Inyo County. Reference: Likes and Day 1975; Mine Superintendent 1990.
Chinese Wall, Inyo County.                 ,
Chinese Wall forms an elevated freight-wagon roadway that parallels portions of Highway 178 north of the town of Trona near Valley Wells. It was made possible by Senator Stewart who brought 45 Chinese laborers into the area to fill washes (seasonal stream valleys) and reduce steep inclines. Work began on the Slate Mountain Range portion of the road in September 1873. The number of Chinese laborers increased to 100 when the road reached the summit of the Slate Range. Its steep grade was reduced significantly through construction of a road bed of dry-mortared rock that skirts the mountain side. Freight hauling between the mines of the Panamint Mountain Range and points south was helped by the improved road. Shortly after that, stagecoaches began to move between Los Angeles and the Panamint Mines using the road. A one-way trip took three days and cost $35.00. Reference: Starry 1969: 10-13.
Old Harmony Borax Works, Inyo County.
Old Harmony Borax Works is commemorated by a plaque placed near Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park. It reads, "In 1881 Aaron Winters discovered borax on the marsh near this point. He later sold his holdings to W. T. Coleman of San Francisco, who built the Harmony Borax Works in 1882 and commissioned his superintendent, J. W. S. Perry to design wagons and locate a suitable route to Mojave. The work of gathering the ore (called 'cotton ball') was done by Chinese workmen. From this point, 20-Mule teams transported the borax 165 miles to the railroad until 1889." The plaque was placed by the California State Park Commission in cooperation with the Death Valley '49ers, Inc. and the National Park Service in 1962. The place is California Historic Landmark No. 773. It is thought that only Chinese lived at Harmony Borax Works. See China Lake, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Johnson 1995: 45; Office of Historic Preservation 1990: 63; Teague and Shenk 1977: 185.

Reilly Township Anthony Mill Ruins, Inyo County.
Near the community of Trona and next to Nadeau Trail Road, Reilly Township displays rock walls built by Chinese workers. Formerly a silver mining locale, today it is now a BLM site. Reference: Luna, Felicia. N.d. Reilly Township. Accessed December15, 2021.

Eastern Kern County
Borax Lake Chinese Camp, Eastern Kern County.
Borax Lake (now Searles Lake) was the site of a Chinese worker camp. The Chinese were employed by the Searles brothers to harvest borax from the lakebed. The Chinese lived in an adobe-like building that was elevated four feet above the ground. The height kept them dry in the swamp-like-conditions of the lake. Reference: Wynn 1963: 28-31.
Caliente, Eastern Kern County.
California commemorated the effort of Chinese railroad laborers by erecting a plaque on Bealville Road near Caliente. It states, "Originally known as Allen's Camp after Gabriel Allen, who in the 1870's had a cabin and stock pasture near here, the settlement was named Caliente when railroad construction reached this point in April 1875. The town became a railroad terminal for about 16 months while a force of up to three thousand men, most of them Chinese, labored on the heavy railroad construction on the mountain." Caliente is California Historic Landmark No. 757. The Chinese lived in work camps all along the route over the mountain. The groves of the Tree of Heaven likely mark the location of the camps. See Walong Siding, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Office of Historical Preservation 1990: 74.
Chinahill Lane, Eastern Kern County.  
Chinahill Lane is on China Hill in the town of Tehachapi. Chinese miners worked throughout the area. See China Hill, Eastern Kern County.
China Gardens, Eastern Kern County.
China Gardens was the campsite of Chinese who worked on the Edison Company's Kern River Canyon Project from 1902-1907. The name came from the vegetable gardens in the area, grown by the Chinese that provided produce for the work crews. Today, the site is a Sequoia National Forest campground and favorite "put-in" for river rafters. Reference: Sequoia National Forest, Greenhorn District Ranger 1992; United States Geological Survey 1972.   Photo.
China Gardens Road, Eastern Kern County.
China Gardens Road is along Highway 178 within the Kern River Canyon. It leads to China Gardens. See China Gardens, Eastern Kern County.
China Hill, Eastern Kern County.
Situated in Tehachapi Valley, China Hill and surrounding area became a gold mining district. Although mining in the area dates to 1854, it was the displaced Chinese railroad workers of the 1870's and their mining efforts that caused it to be identified as China Hill. See China Hill Diggings, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Hoover 1990: 122.
China Hill Creek, Eastern Kern County.
China Hill Creek is a seasonal stream that flows from China Hill. It is part of the Tehachapi Creek drainage area. See China Hill, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Barras 1976: 44.
China Hill Diggings, Eastern Kern County.
With the completion of the railroad through Tehachapi Pass in 1876, some Chinese railroad laborers went to work at Rademacher Mine south of Tehachapi Summit. When it closed, they leased land on a hill near present-day Water Canyon Road and tried placer mining. Pay dirt was struck but the Chinese choose to leave because of an increase in the cost of their share of the  lease. Yet, they stayed within the area of Water Canyon Road and again found gold. The arebecame known as China Hill Diggings Mining District. Hydraulic mining techniques were practiced there as late as 1933. See Chinahill Lane, Eastern Kern County; China Hill, Eastern Kern County; China Hill Ditch, Eastern Kern County; Tibethill Lane, Eastern Kern CountyReference: Barras 1973: 71; Barras 1972; Darling 1988: 27; Tehachapi League 1989: 3.
China Hill Diggins Mining District, Eastern Kern County .
 China Hill Mining District encompasses all the gold-bearing area of China Hill. See China Hill Diggings, Eastern Kern County.
China Hill Ditch, Eastern Kern County.
China Hill Ditch was seven miles in length. It was dug by six Chinese miners so that they would have adequate water for their mining operation in the China Hill Diggings Mining District. See China Hill Diggings, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Barras 1976: 37-38.
China Lake, Eastern Kern County.
After completion of the Central Pacific Railroad, unemployed Chinese workers began collecting and processing borax (cotton balls) found in a playa (seasonal lake) in Indian Wells Valley. Once processed by boiling, the borax was sent to China where it was used as part of pottery glaze along with other applications. Because of the Chinese at the playa, it became known as China Lake. A freight way station, linking the mines of the Inyo-White Mountains to Los Angeles, was located there by the l870's. The freight station became known as China Lake. In 1943, the U.S. Navy established the U.S. Naval Ordnance Test Station in the area. It encompassed China Lake and the facility was so named. By 1944, an extensive program of weapons research and testing was initiated. Being located in a remote area, it was necessary to construct a complete community for its civilian and military personnel, to include housing, schools, churches, retail service, etc. A post office with the name of China Lake officially opened there in 1948. Construction of China Lake peaked in the late 1960's with the addition of new apartmen:s, single family dwellings and recreation facilities. Housing was at capacity by 1971. A continued influx of personnel stimulated growth in the nearby town of Ridgecrest with some China Lake residents moving off the military base. In 1980, China Lake counted 4,616 civilian and military residents. Presently, residence in China Lake is limited to military personnel. A placename cluster has resulted from the influence of the community. See China Lake Acres, Eastern Kern County; China Lake Boulevard, Eastern Kern County; China Lake Golf Course, Eastern Kern County; Harmony Borax Works, Inyo County. Reference: Bateman 1942: 767-770; Farlander 1992; High Desert Newspapers 1991; Peirson 1964: 57; Smith 1959; Williams 1992. Photo.
China Lake Acres, Eastern Kern County.
China Lake Acres is a housing development outside of nearby China Lake. The development is part of the China Lake placename cluster. See China Lake, Eastern Kern County.
China Lake Boulevard, Eastern Kern County.
China Lake Boulevard runs through Ridgecrest and is another in the placename cluster of China Lake. See China Lake, Eastern Kern County.                
China Lake Golf Course, Eastern Kern County.
China Lake Golf Course is part of a placename cluster that derives its name from the community of China Lake. See China Lake, Eastern Kern County.
Chinese Diggings, Eastern Kern County.
Located near Kernville and the Kern River, Chinese Diggings was an area rich in placer gold. Banned from the mining district until 1857, Chinese Diggings was one of the first areas to be mined by the Chinese. Reference: Ming 1992; Theodoratus 1984: 316.
Chinese Lime Kiln, Eastern Kern County.
Chinese operated a kiln in the area of the company town known as Monolith. The kiln marks an important change in technique for the processing of lime. Remnants of the kiln are still observable but located on private property. Reference: Barras 1976: 53-54; Office of Historic Preservation 1976: 75.
Chinese Trail, Eastern Kern County.
Chinese Trail runs along the mountain ridge above the Kern River in the Kern River Canyon. Presently, it connects Democrat Springs and the Second Edison Power Station. The Chinese used this path, possibly as early as the 1850's, to reach the gold fields of the Kern River. More recently it was used by Chinese who worked on the development of the Edison Company's hydroelectric resources of the Kern River. See China Gardens, Eastern Kern County; Chinese Diggings, Eastern Kern County. Reference: True 1993; United States Geological Survey 1972.
Mojave Chinese Business Area, Eastern Kern County.
The Chinese business area in the town of Mojave was across from the railroad tracks on the east side of J Street between Inyo Street and Panamint Street. In 1907, it consisted of two restaurants. Reference: Sanborn Insurance Map 1907a.
Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line, Eastern Kern County.
Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line and the Chinese who built it were commemorated in October 1998 by a plaque erected at the Tehachapi Loop. The plaque states, "In front of you is the world famous Tehachapi Loop which is about halfway upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass. This steep line averages 2.2 percent in gradient in its 28 mile length. This feat of civil engineering genius was the crowning achievement of civil engineer William Hood of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. It is one of the seven wonders of the railroad world. The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line was cut through solid and decomposing granite by up to 3,000 Chinese laborers from Canton, China. They used picks, shovels, horse drawn carts and blasting powder. This line, which climbs out of the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains, had 18 tunnels, 10 bridges and numerous water towers for the old steam locomotives. It was completed in less than two years under the leadership of civil engineer J. B. Harris, Chief of Construction, a remarkable feat. This line was part of the last and final link of the first railroad line connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles and the State of California. This single track line, essentially unchanged, is still in constant use today, 122 years after its completion. It passes an average of 36 freight trains each day. This attests to the superior job of both engineering and  construction done by the two civil engineers and the Chinese laborers. This plaque is dedicated to them. Historic Heritage Committee, Los Angeles Section and Southern San Joaquin Branch, American Society of Civil Engineers. National Historic Civil Engineer Landmark, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1852." Tehachapi Loop is California Historic Landmark No. 508. See Caliente, Eastern Kern County; Walong Siding, Eastern Kern County.

Walong Siding, Eastern Kern County.
In 1875 and 1876 of the three thousand workers on the Tehachapi Mountains portion of the Southern Pacific Railroad line most had been Chinese. Many lost their lives with seven being killed when Tunnel No. 15 collapsed on April 3, 1876. While sounding as though it might be Chinese, Walong Siding, is not a Chinese placename. It was named after District Roadmaster W. A. Long, a Euro American employee of the railroad. The siding is on the Tehachapi Loop, California Historic Landmark No. 508, near the community of Keene. See Caliente, Eastern Kern County; Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line, Eastern Kern County. Reference: Lawton 1987: 65; Office of Historic Preservation 1990: 71; Signor 1983: 56.

                                                               Mono County

Bennettville Bunk House, Mono County.
The bunk house is located along a trail that begins at the Junction Campground by the road to Saddleback Lake and near the east entrance gate of Yosemite National Park. Chinese laborers lived in the second story floor of the two-story building. Reference: Choi, Min Joo. N.d. "Bennettville and Cord Wood Ridge." accessed December 18, 2021. 

Bodie Chinatown, Mono County.
By 1880, several hundred Chinese lived in the mining town of Bodie, now a State Historic ParkMost resided in Chinatown on the north side of Bodie with King Street as the center of the Chinese community. Being banned from working in the mines, the Chinese worked primarily in service occupations. The thriving Bodie Chinatown had a temple, recreational facilities and stores. Only three buildings presently remain. See Bodie Chinese Cemetery, Mono County. Reference: Wey 1988: 140-141.

Bodie Chinese Cemetery, Mono County.
Bodie Chinese Cemetery was reportedly at the north end of the main cemetery located west of town. See Bodie Chinatown, Mono County. Reference: Office of Historic Preservation 1979b.

China Garden, Mono County.
China Garden in the Toiyabe National Forest is on the west side of West Walker River. Highway 395 passes through China Garden about 26 miles north of Bridgeport. China Garden appeared on United States Geological Survey maps as Chinaman Flat from 1911 to 1951. Subsequent maps show China Garden. It was a place of vegetable farming by a Chinese man who sold the produce to local miners. Reference: Browning 1986: 38; United States Geological Survey 1954.

China Peak, Mono County.
China Peak is about two and one-half miles from the community of Benton on Blind Spring HillReference: United States Geological Survey 1962.                
Chinese Camp, Mono County.
Chinese Camp was an early name for Bodie Chinatown. See Bodie Chinatown, Mono County.
Mammoth City Chinatown, Mono County.
Mammoth City Chinatown was located in the center of Mammoth City on Main Street. Chinese made up 7 percent of the total population (44 out of 610) and were second in number of those from another country--the Irish were first--according to the 1880 census. Mining for gold and silver by tunnel and shaft digging occurred throughout the area. However, the Mammoth Mine was the center of activity. Thus, Mammoth City, established about 1875, was a company town with script issued by the company as the principal medium of exchange. Bad weather and mismanagement caused the closure of the mine on July 6, 1881. Mammoth City Chinatown and the city vanished soon thereafter. Reference: Caldwell 1990: 69-70, 109-117.
Paoha Island Chinese Camp, Mono County.
Chinese railroad workers were evacuated to Paoha Island in Mono Lake when angry miners from the town of Bodie learned of the Chinese labor being used to build a railway from the Mono Hills to Bodie. The miners were unable to reach the island because there were no boats to take them there and they eventually dispersed. The Chinese soon returned to their railroad construction. Reference: Wey 1988: 141

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