TwHP Lessons

Locke and Walnut Grove: Havens for Early Asian Immigrants in California

[Cover photo] Main Streeet, Locke
(Main Street, Locke; California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation)

[Cover photo] Walnut Grove
(Walnut Grove; California State Parks Office of Historic Preservation)


estled at a slight bend along the narrow River Road and overshadowed by tall, drooping trees, Walnut Grove lies mid-way between Sacramento and Stockton in northern California. Also fronting the Sacramento River, one mile to the north of Walnut Grove, is Locke, a small, peaceful community settled by people who had earlier lived in Walnut Grove. The river was once a major thoroughfare for shipping agricultural products to markets across the country. Today, only excursion boats and houseboats share its waters. River Road parallels the bends of the Sacramento River on its eastern side and, like the river, still carries some traffic between San Francisco and Sacramento in Northern California, but like the other narrow roads that once connected the communities with larger cities, it has been largely bypassed by travellers, who favor the quicker freeways and interstate highways that crisscross the region.

Here, in the Sacramento County delta area, where the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers converge, the history of the once bustling Chinatowns and nihonmachi's (Japan towns) can still be seen in buildings constructed some 50 to a 100 years ago. Store signs in Chinese and in Japanese still advertise the Dai Loy Gambling House, the Hayashi Company Store, and other places that once provided services to the immigrant agricultural workers who began their American experience in the Sacramento Delta.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. California
 2. Locke and Walnut Grove, CA, and
 the neighboring Delta towns

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Chinese and Japanese Immigrants
 Come to America

 2. Life in Walnut Grove
 3. Life in Locke

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Chinese Mason Building, Market St. elevation
 2. Chinese Mason Building, River Rd. elevation
 3. Gakuen Hall, Walnut Grove
 4. Main Street, Locke
 5. Dai Loy Gambling Museum, Locke
 6. Dai Loy Gambling Museum,
 floor plan

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Life as an Immigrant
 2. Ethnic Enclaves

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This lesson is based on the Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District, Walnut Grove Chinese-American Historic District, Walnut Grove Commercial/Residential Historic District, and Locke Historic District, four of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Locke Historic District has been designated a National Historic Landmark.



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