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Locke History

Chan Tin-San is commonly credited as the earliest resident of Locke.   He was the first Chinese to construct a building on the Locke brothers' property, where he realized the business potential of the Southern Pacific wharf and warehouse.   After the October 1916 fire which destroyed the Walnut Grove Chinatown, a number of Chung-San District people moved to the area and Locke was officially established.   Lee Bing, the leader of the group, financed nine of the buildings.  Locke is one of the only towns in the United States built entirely by Chinese.  It was built in 1915 and burned down twice.  Locke was a bustling place with gambling houses, merchant stores and a movie house all owned by the Chinese. Locke today is much like it was many years ago.  Most of the original buildings are still standing.  The Southern Pacific wharf and warehouse was built in three stages, the first in 1906.   It grew to over 800 feet in length.  During the harvest season a half dozen or more fruit packers used to rent space in the warehouse, among them were Scobel & Day, Simons & French, Earl Fruit Company, and the California Packing Corporation.  The rail spur served the warehouse and connected with the Walnut Grove Branch line.  The warehouse operated two freight elevators which raised produce from the decks of the riverboats.  The warehouse is now used to store and launch pleasure boats. For more Locke information, click this link.


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