Native Sons of the Golden West Historic Marker Dedication Ceremony was staged on April 24, 2016. Below is a video of the ceremony and the text of the marker.
The largest, most complete, example of a rural agricultural Chinese-American community in the United States
Prior to 1915 this area consisted of four buildings and was part of the Locke Ranch known as “Lockeport”. The name was later shortened to “Locke”.
When a 1915 fire consumed the Chinatown District of nearby Walnut Grove, the displaced residents asked the owner of the Locke Ranch for permission to rebuild their own separate town in Lockeport. Here, on rented land, the Chinese community proceeded to establish a post office, a school, a theater, restaurants, saloons, food markets, dry goods stores, a church, gambling halls, brothels, and numerous other businesses. Locke flourished and at one time supported a permanent population of 600 hundred residents plus a thousand seasonal laborers.
A thriving Chinese town in its heyday, Locke residents exhibited a resilient spirit to survive and persevered throughout the twentieth century. Together they withstood the constant threat of fire, floods, the pain of poverty, the bitterness of discrimination, the despair of neglect, and the emptiness of social abandonment.
In 1971 Locke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and by 1990 Locke was named a National Historic Landmark. In 2005 the County of Sacramento sub-divided Locke and for the first time building owners could purchase the land beneath their buildings; a right previously denied the Chinese by the Alien Land Law of 1913.
On the 100th anniversary of its founding, Locke stands as a testament to its first residents and continues to embody the extraordinary efforts by generations of Chinese in developing agriculture in California.
This plaque placed by Grand President Dean C. Zellers of Native Sons of the Golden West, with Elk Grove Parlor #41 Native Sons of the Golden West and Liberty Parlor #213 Native Daughters of the Golden West. The base for this plaque was provided by the Locke Foundation Centennial Committee.
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