Marysville's Chinatown, California (Images of America Series)
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Marysville's Chinatown, California (Images of America Series)

by Brian Tom, Lawrence Tom, Chinese American Museum of Northern California
     
 


Marysville's Chinatown was once one of the most important Chinatowns in America. The early Chinese settlers called Marysville Sanfow, or "the third city," meaning the third city by river to the goldfields. Two of the first four Chinese American judges in California were from Marysville as was the first Chinese American elected to the San Francisco Board of…  See more details below

Overview


Marysville's Chinatown was once one of the most important Chinatowns in America. The early Chinese settlers called Marysville Sanfow, or "the third city," meaning the third city by river to the goldfields. Two of the first four Chinese American judges in California were from Marysville as was the first Chinese American elected to the San Francisco Board of Education. The Marysville Chinatown was among the first Chinatowns built in California's Gold Country and is the only one to survive to this day. Because of this, it is possible to view the full panorama of Chinese-American history through the viewpoint of this one Chinatown.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Asian Themed Books to Buy for the Holiday Season

Author: Staff Writer

Publisher: Asian Week

Date: 12/1/2009

CHINESE IN MARYSVILLE, MENDOCINO COUNTY, SAN JOSE AND SANTA CLARA

Arcadia Publishing Company books about Chinese American history gives reader a pictorial glimpse into the communities that grew up as Chinese pioneers emigrated from China to settle in Gold Mountain, their supposedly American dreamland. Among the books on Chinese in Arcadia's Images of America series, Brian Tom, founder of the Marysville Chinese Historical Museum is the author of CHINESE IN MARYSVILLE book. Lorraine Hee-Chorley's CHINESE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY tells of the Chinese who were instrumental in the county's development in the 1800s where little to this time has been written documenting their contributions to local history. Lillian Gong-Guy and I co-wrote the CHINESE IN SAN JOSE AND SANTA CLARA VALLEY, where we tried to display through photos the many Chinatowns that once stood in San Jose, and the difficulties faced in the late 1800s and early 1900s to establish a Chinese community for the many farm laborers who had immigrated to this area. Our book also tells of the history and contributions of those Chinese Americans who have since moved to the area to establish their own churches, community organizations, businesses, schools and political power as they assimilate into the Silicon Valley communities. Bill Wong's book CHINESE IN OAKLAND also tells the story of the Chinese settlements in this east bay community that thrived in 1906 when San Francisco Chinatown citizens escaped the Earthquake turmoil when its buildings were destroyed and damaged and they were forced to evacuate. Judy Yung also wrote about San Francisco's Chinatown history, thanks to Arcadia's dedication to bringing Chinese American history to readers around the world.

Title: Keeping Alive California's Chinese Legacy

Author: Linda Davis

Publication: Oakland Tribune

Date: 11/26/2008

It wasn't enough to pen a book on Marysville's Chinatown, the last remaining active Chinatown from California's Gold Rush.

Piedmonter Brian Tom also realized a lifelong dream of establishing a Chinese-American Museum in Marysville, after years of collecting photos, memorabilia and research about the Chinese legacy in those boom days.

The Chinese-American Museum of Northern California opened in March, 2007 and is open the first Saturday of each month from noon to 4 p.m. It contains over 500 items on display, including 200 photos gleaned from Tom's family, other pioneering Marysville Chinese families, the Yuba County Library and other sources.

"Marysville's Chinatown," (Arcadia Publishing, $19.99) by Brian Tom and Lawrence Tom, was released last month as another in Arcadia's "Images of America" series.

"Brian is to be congratulated for keeping alive a piece of Chinese American history," said fellow Piedmonter Bill Wong, who wrote about Oakland Chinatown for Arcadia and contributed a chapter about Chinese detainees in an Arcadia book about Angel Island.

"(Chinese descendants) in more urban settings can sometimes forget. Bringing more attention to a very prototypical rural Chinatown is to be congratulated," Wong said. "Fact is, those of us who are interested in California history and those parts that make up history should be encouraged with what Brian has done, painting a fuller picture of American history."

Tom's book is a detailed look at the early Chinese Gold Rush settlers, many of whom were miners, others merchants, health practitioners or restaurant operators.

Tom grew up in Marysville, then earned a degree in political science from UC-Berkeley and later a law degree from UC-Davis. He founded and taught the Asian American studies program at UC-Davis in 1969 and was also a practicing attorney for many years.

"I had been thinking about (establishing) a museum for 40 years," Tom said. "Unless you capture (the history) in books or museums, the very important forming of a California identity will be lost. It was such a small part of the population."

Only a few Chinese descendants remain in Marysville, once a bustling gold town of 10,000 people. Many of them gradually moved to larger population centers like San Francisco or Oakland. But Marysville still has a few historic Chinese buildings, one of which houses Tom's 3,000 square-foot Chinese-American Museum; the building he purchased was built in 1858.

In the book Tom explores the history of his forebears from those Gold Rush days up to the present, where the Bok Kai or Bomb Day festival is held every year on the second day of the second month of the lunar year.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738559766
Publisher:
Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Series:
Images of America Series
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
818,359
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.34(h) x 0.31(d)

Meet the Author


Author Brian Tom was born and raised in Marysville. He is the founder of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of California, Davis--one of the first (June 1969) AAS programs in the country. He wrote the AAS proposal, taught three of the first five classes, and hired the first tenure-track faculty. He practiced law in San Francisco for over 25 years. He is the founder and director of the Chinese American Museum of Northern California. Lawrence Tom was born in Marysville's Chinatown. He was the comptroller for the California State Department of Transportation and is the tour director for the Chinese American Museum of Northern California

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