Northern California April 21, 2017
This Entire Neighborhood Near Northern California Was Mysteriously Abandoned And Nobody Knows Why
There are a lot of eerie ghost towns in Northern California and unexplained mysteries, but no one really knows the reasons why half of Chinese Camp in Tuolomne County was abandoned. Draw your own conclusions, but here’s a few unsettling photos of this abandoned place where men, women, and children once lived and thrived.
Like many ghost towns of the 1850s, when mining became less lucrative than other industries at the end of the gold rush, many folks left town. No one can really say, however, what rhyme or reason made specific individuals abandon the homes and buildings in this part of Chinese Camp.
Pictured here is the foundry & blacksmith shop.
While there are a lot of mysterious unknowns surrounding this community, there are a lot of things that we do know about it's past.
The Buck Store is the subject of this photo.
The settlement was first known as "Camp Washington" or "Washingtonville" and one of the few remaining streets is Washington Street.
Some of the very first Chinese laborers arriving in California in 1849 were driven from neighboring Camp Salvado and resettled here. The area started to become known as Chinese Camp.
Here's the doctor's house, office & boardinghouse.
The town currently has a population of 150 souls, but during the height of the gold rush thousands of Caucasians and Chinese miners lived here. It had at least 5,000 Chinese immigrants living here at one point.
An 1892 Tuolumne County historical account claims that in 1856, the first tong war (between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo tongs) was fought near here. The tongs were rival groups of Chinese immigrants and their battles were bloody.
The abandoned homes and businesses are rumored to be haunted, like many of the older communities of the motherlode. There's bound to be ghost stories coming out of this spooky and eerie town.
Here's the town's fandango parlor and "house of ill-repute."
Tree-of-Heaven, the distinct plant that grows like weeds throughout the foothills, has taken over many of the buildings here. Apparently, the Chinese immigrants were the first to introduce this invasive plant to the area.
Here's the IOOF hall, built in 1870 and now almost totally obscured by ailanthus ("Tree-of-Heaven") trees, as are many of the other abandoned buildings in this fascinating ghost town.
I don't blame them for planting these green trees, despite the fact that they have a very distinct odor. There's not a ton of natural shade and the summers in this region are hot!
While many buildings are in surprisingly good condition, here's the foundation of a house that has been slowly reclaimed by nature.
St. Francis Xavier Church, the oldest church in Tuolomne county, is located here.
It features a creepy old cemetery, where the feeling of old ghosts and restless spirits that you get throughout the town continues to permeate .
Regardless of its mysterious and downright eerie nature, this is a fascinating slice of history that everyone should make an effort to see at least once.
Take your time to get to know the old buildings. In a lot of modern history classes, only the white settler's story is told. The gold rush, however, was a multicultural event and it is important to California's identity to recognize that.
Have you ever visited Chinese Camp? It’s a ghostly place, and if you are into that kind of thing, you might like reading about
Northern California’s Most Haunted Street.