Historic Locke California

Historic Locke California

Historic Locke California

Locke is a historic town, born of late 19th and early 20th Century Racism towards Chinese. Exclusion laws kept people of Chinese (and yes, other skin colors,) from owning land in California. The town was located in the Sacramento Valley of California in what is now Walnut Grove California.

Originally called Lockporte, the townsite was a collection of three Chinese owned buildings in 1912. The land was owned by George Locke who leased it to the Chinese.

After fire broke out in the Chinese section of Walnut Grove on October 7, 1915, the population fragmented into two parts. One stayed behind to rebuild, the second moved the mile north to Lockporte. Four more buildings were built and the town name was shortened to Locke.

Historic Locke California

“Al the Wop’s Saloon and Restaurant” and the “Dai Loy Musuem” courtesy of EVintagePhoto

Looking down the board walk photo by Mitch Lorens

Looking down the board walk photo by Mitch Lorens

Within a couple of years, Locke’s Chinese population was estimated to be between 1000 to 1500 people. Mostly farmers and laborers, they worked on farms through out the region in all capacities. By the 1950s most of the town population had disappeared, integrated into larger cities.

The townsite of Locke was purchased in 1977 by a Hong-Kong Developer from George Locke’s decedents. The town site was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1990 as it was a prime example of a Chinese-American Rural Community. The town site was sold to the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency in 2002, who worked with residents to purchase the land their homes were on in 2004.

Historic Locke California

Locke Main Street, 1980s. Courtesy of EVintagePhoto

The town still remains a bit of a tourist attraction with historically preserved buildings including the Locke Boarding House Museum ran by the The Locke Foundation.

The town has since then been completely absorbed by Walnut Grove, California.

Visit the Official Locke Website

Locke Mainstreet, by Mitch Lorens

Locke Mainstreet, by Mitch Lorens

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Please visit the author's website at http://evintagephoto.com/locke-california/

Western Ghost town of Hornitos

The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins

Western Ghost town of Hornitos

The rowdy western ghost town of Hornitos California once had up to 15,000 people in the 1880s. It now sits at a population of 75 as of 2010.

The town has several major claims to fame:

Joaquin Murieta Wanted Poster

– One of the rowdiest towns in the Mariposa Mining District. Citizens from nearby Quartzburg expelled the undesirable elements, who simply moved up the creek to build a new, more prosperous town. It had a big reputation for lawlessness that lead to figures like well known Mexican Bandit, Joaquin Murrieta.

Western Ghost town of Hornitos - The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins

The Ghirardelli & Co. Ruins in Hornitos California by Wayne Hsieh

Domenico Ghirardelli had a general store to supply the miners here from 1856 to 1859. He sold chocolates here and perfected his recipes before moving to San Francisco and entering the chocolate business full time. The ruins of this building can still be seen.

– The FreeMason Lodge is claimed to be the physically smallest in California, and possibly the United States. It is still active after 160 years.

Hornitos Freemason Lodge No 98

Hornitos Freemason Lodge No 98

In addition, Hornitos is “known” to be haunted. Dozens of stories abound about various ghosts in the town. Most of them murdered or otherwise bad deaths.