Like a ghost town from the past, the rickety shantytown sits
precariously on the banks of the Sacramento River. Ancient clapboard
buildings, separated by dark alleyways, line narrow streets. Sidewalks
are wooden. At first, it appears uninhabited; however, store signs swing
in the breeze and potted plants drape second-floor porches — sure
indications that people, not ghosts, live here.
Welcome to Locke, the only authentic Chinese village in the United States built by and for Chinese immigrants.
Only a few blocks long, gambling houses, brothels, opium dens
and fish markets once flourished here. Now, a former casino, the Dai Loy
Museum, shows off old gaming tables; the Joe Shoong School, closed for
lack of children, offers tours. Also surviving is the Yuen Chong Market,
Foon Hops Gifts and the Chinese Cultural shop, plus galleries and shops
featuring oriental treasures. Above all, don’t miss the wacky Al the
Wops restaurant, known for fine steak, French bread and peanut butter.
Located midway between Sacramento and Stockton in the
California Delta, Locke is situated west of Interstate 5, a half mile
north of Walnut Grove.
For more information, call (916) 776-1661, or go to locketown.com.