Chinese History Project

of the Washington Township Museum of Local History

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Image of Alvarado Chinatown, on postcard dated July 15, 1922, from archives of the Washington Township Museum of Local History

A Project with the Washington Township Museum of Local History

The Chinese History Project at MOCANYC!

The Chinese History Project is thrilled to be part of the Gathering exhibit at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City.

We sent materials from that represented our two related projects, the Chinese History Project at the Museum of Local History and the Chinese Bunkhouse Preservation Project at Shinn Park.

As part of the project, MOCANYC partnered with the Tenement Museum on the online exhibit Our Stories Your Stories. Look for the horse collar that Belle wore on the Fong Family farm. Look for the bunkhouse at Shinn Park that was used by the Chinese workers at the Shinn Ranch.

The museum exhibit is currently closed due to the pandemic. However, please visit their website to see when they open again. If you find yourself in NYC, you can visit items from Fremont!

The "Chinese Roots" exhibit 2019

For hundreds of years, our area has attracted immigrants from all over the world. Records of Chinese immigrants show up in our local archives at least as early as the 1860s. Stories of the early Chinese immigrants are held in many museums, in archives, and in the personal collections of local families.

Our Goals

  • To bring these stories alive – of immigration, struggle, and success
  • To tell these little-known stories to visitors and students
  • To create partnerships with families, museums, parks, schools, universities, and other agencies
  • To provide an historic context for preservation projects, such as the Chinese Bunkhouse Preservation Project at Shinn Park

January 2019 at the Fremont Main Library : "Chinese Roots: Sketches of life in the Washington Township"

  • An exhibit of images, records, oral histories of the early Chinese immigrants and pioneering families
  • Photos and records from the archives of the California Nursery Company in Niles, the Shinn Ranch in Niles.
  • Materials from museums in Newark and Fremont that represent the towns of the Washington Township: Niles, Centerville, Mission San Jose, Warm Springs, Irvington, Newark, Union City, Decoto, and Alvarado.
  • Memoirs from the early families tell us what it was like to grow up along Alameda Creek in the years from 1920 to 1940.
  • Talks on archaeology, genealogy, and history

We hope that other families will be inspired to find ways to share this information with the community - with this museum or elsewhere.

Some of the comments in our Guest Book at the Chinese Roots Exhibit


“So very interesting! Such a joy to live in a place birthed by individuals from all over the world. Grateful that these stories have been preserved.”

CLICK TO READ MORE

“Thank you for sharing these stories. As new immigrant (2002) these stories I look up to when I feel down when I study. Please compile it into ONE BIG WEBSITE SO PEOPLE can add more of their stories and it doesn’t disappear with time/generations. Great Jobs.


‘Wonderful exhibit. It’s great to see the Chinese history of Fremont and the Bay Area. My great uncle was Fred Weibel. He took over the vineyards and shares a part of this history from the Leland Stanford family. The relationship of the Chinese and Portuguese settlers goes back a long way in California. Together they created wonderful farms by working side by side to develop what became Fremont. I would love to see more of this original history of native Californians who made our community a beautiful place! God Bless


“I could imagine also my roots [Philippines] who came to California …similar to the Chinese Roots. They have contributed somehow for the progress of America in many ways which we are enjoying nowadays. I salute them!


“This is an absolutely beautiful exhibit. Thank you so much for letting me learn more about the history of my home.”


“Great to see so much history presented here - to honor and inform current residents of Fremont/Union City/Newark about those who came before, and who have been hidden away in family memories and museum archives. Thanks for all the hard work!”


“Enjoyed the exhibit. Great job by the team that put it together including my sister Betty. Loved the photo of my brother Milton in the airplane. The Patterson Ranch was my birthplace in the late 30’s”


“Wonderful exhibit! So much history in our “own backyards.” Thank you to all who had a part in the preservation as well as this exhibit.”


“Loved viewing the photos, reading the stories of Chinese immigrants who contributed immensely to the agricultural history of Alameda County”


“I very much enjoyed the exhibit. I was not aware of the Chinese presence here in Fremont. It will be shared with my family. Appreciate the thoughtful work that was done to tell this story.”


“Amazing exhibit. Thanks for putting it together. Should be a permanent exhibit so students can come and have research projects.”


“History that powerful occurring in my own first-generation hometown feels special to me.”