Located on Highway 49 northwest of Yosemite and close by the shore of Don Pedro Reservoir, this town dates from the Gold Rush. Originally known as Camp Washington, its name was changed because of the large numbers of Chinese who lived here. In 1856, it was the site of one of the earliest tong wars in the gold fields, when members of the Tan Woo Tong faced off against Sam Yap members. About 1,000 men scuffled; fortunately casualties were light due to the preferred choice of weapons--swords. At its peak, perhaps 5,000 Chinese resided here. Even as late as the 1880s, patient Chinese miners were still eking out a living here mining gold. Hardly a trace of this rich Oriental heritage remains, however. Only a few old buildings still stand.

A stone and brick post office dating from 1854 is still in use; the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church here, built in 1855, was restored in 1949. The Wells Fargo Building also still stands.

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