Chinese in Marysville




Former residents of a rural Sacramento Valley community tell stories of growing up in their “wide-open” neighborhood during the 1920s, 30s & 40s.  Topics include inter-ethnic relationships, poverty, close-knit family ties, brothels, gambling halls, paper sons, school, sports, dating, religion and a Chinese/American celebration.

Interspersed with period photographs and rare newsreel film footage of a nationally known Chinese-American Festival, Bomb Day—Stories from Marysville’s Chinatown, provides viewers with an up close and personal glimpse into one of northern California’s last Chinatowns.

Combine the Cantonese, “each village makes their own law”, form of governance, add a once prosperous gold-rush-era town struggling to keep dollars flowing, stir in a small town atmosphere where everyone knows each other, blend it with immigrant bachelor farm-workers craving good times and you get Marysville’s Chinatown.  A three block area on the city’s southern fringe alongside the Yuba River brimming with 128 businesses including 33 restaurants and bars, 16 hotels, 9 barber shops, 13 liquor stores, 19 general merchandise, 5 groceries, 6 hardware and a Japanese and a Chinese language school.

Making the most of harsh anti-Asian laws, the parents of interviewees sought out the best way to make a living—providing goods and services, in a vice filled neighborhood (with a nod and a wink from city leaders).  Bomb Day captures stories (many humorous) of the transitional era where the children of immigrants successfully threw off nearly a century of  racism to become full-fledged American citizens.


To watch the video, simply click the embedded You Tube player below. After viewing the first segment you can continue by clicking part 2 through 6...Enjoy!

Bomb Day--Stories from Marysville's Chinatown. This is part 1. After video ends, click image; it takes you to You Tube. Then click Daniel Barth 1 to view the five remander videos.


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