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A Quiet Town Has One of North America’s Oldest Chinese Temples

U.S.A Quiet Town Has One of North America’s Oldest Chinese Temples

For a brief time in the mid-19th century, one of the biggest cities in California was a place you may never have heard of: Marysville, about 40 miles north of Sacramento.

Marysville was a gold rush boom town, more populous in 1860 than any other city in the state except for San Francisco and Sacramento. The community, in Yuba County, was the last stop along the way for gold-seekers who had come to California by steamship and were headed inland to the mines.

It was also home to the state’s third-largest Chinatown, a hub for immigrants from the southern province of Guangdong who worked on the railroads.

“I grew up knowing Marysville as Sahm Fow,” or “third city” in Cantonese, said Jon Lim, a 54-year-old native of the town.

Today, Marysville is a quiet town of antique shops and Victorian houses, and a population that is only 7 percent Asian. Yet the legacy of its once-bustling Chinatown remains.


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