We were driving to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco, when we passed several dusty, small towns between Stockton and Mariposa. One had just a few houses and a closed general store with a sign “Chinese Camp”. The name of the town made us all smile, as it certainly looked like a ghost town from the Gold Rush era. A few miles later I remembered that one of my distant Wilkinson cousins in my genealogical database was buried in the cemetery at Chinese Camp, California. We vowed to stop again for a photo the next time we passed by.
|An abandoned building at Chinese Camp|
|This was the old post office, and|
also served as a Wells Fargo office
|This appeared to have once been a home|
We drove around the town, but it seemed to be mostly abandoned buildings near the highway, with the houses near the store apparently lived in, although we only saw two people. The general store is only open on weekends. Across the street from the store is the gate to the cemetery, which is not visible from the road. It is located about a half mile up the dirt road, and through another gate. Neither gate was locked, but we had to get out of the car, open it up, and then close it as we passed through. I’ll post the cemetery photos for Tombstone Tuesday.
For the truly curious:
History of Chinese Camp, by the Tuolumne County Historic Preservation Review Commission, 1994
Woman Keeps Chinese Camp History Alive, The Union Democrat, 29 November 2009, by Joshua Wolfson, story at this link http://www.uniondemocrat.com/2005112985769/News/Local-News/Woman-keeps-Chinese-Camp-history-alive
A slide show of abandoned Chinese Camp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bloCr4PI3nk
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo