PARKS AND TREES
1735 Montgomery Street, Oroville, CA. 95965
Phone (530) 538-2415
Fax (530) 538-2426
Charles Miller, Director of Parks and Trees
Dedicated in the spring of 1863, this building
served as a temple of worship for 10,000 Chinese; then living
here. Funds for this erection and furnishings were provided by
the Emperor and Empress of Chins and local Chinese Labor built
the structure. The Building was deeded to the City of Oroville
in 1935, by the Chinese Residents. California Registered Historical
Landmark NO. 770. Plaque placed by the California State Park
Commission in cooperation with Oroville Woman community club
on June 20, 1967.
This in only portion of one room out of the four which are filled
with a very valuable collection of Chinese art and religious
The Oroville Chinese Temple was built in 1863 to serve a community
of 10,000 Chinese. It includes three chapels for each of the
major ways of life in China. The main chapel is called Liet Sheng
Kong-Temple of the assorted
deities. It is a place of prayer for various worships including
Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.
Adjacent to the main temple is a family or clan chapel.
The boards on the one side walls near the altar is the donation
received. This room pertain to the clan or family of Chan.
The Chan Room is a Confucian Room for reverence of ancestors.
Confucius taught that all human relationships depend upon maintenance
of the family.
The Moon Temple, so called because of its entrance, is Wong Fat
Tong-Hall of the Yellow Buddha.
The Council Room served a variety of civil and cultural needs
of the worker; such as banking, letter writing, discipline and
arranging for the burial of the dead.
A major flood in 1907 decimated the Chinese community so that
most Chinese left Oroville. Some returned to China while others
moved to Sacramento or San Francisco. The Chan Family then assumed
responsibility for the Temple, It was deeded to the City of Oroville
in 1937 and it was first
opened to visitors at the time of California's Centennial in
A new addition to the temple was completed in 1968. Tapestry
Hall was built to display the extensive collection of embroidered
tapestries, parade parasols and other objects of beauty and value
which characterize the best of Chinese folk art.
Art was never separate from religious and ethical teachings in
China. All objects in everyday use by the common people of China
were ornamented by the same symbols seen on these tapestries,
The symbols express the religious ideas of Taoism, Confucianism
and Buddhism - combined and repeated over and over. Presented
on happy occasions, the tapestries are mostly red which is the
color of happiness. The tapestry repeats the wish for happiness,
long life, good fortune and many sons.
Some of the symbols are:
Unicorn--brings noble sons
Buddha lion--symbol of power and valor
Deer, crane, peach--symbols of longevity
Bat, butterfly, shou--symbols of joy
The potteries, bronzes, wood, lacquer ware, textiles and other
objects of Folk Art are typical of those used by the Chinese
during the period of the temple
community in Oroville. The Cullie Room contains a collection
of Chinese and American costumes arranged to contrast the two
cultures by each decade from 1850 to 1930. The Cullie Room was
added during the Bicentennial year.
The three dimensional puppets are from the Oroville Chinese
Opera Theater. The rare shadow puppets are displayed to suggest
a performance. The puppets indicate the variety and color of
the ancient folk theater used to entertain and teach generations
of non-literate Chinese.
A Chinese garden is not an idle pleasure garden, but deliberately
designed as a quiet retreat. It is a place for meditation and
reflection. All its parts are symbolic reminders of the religious
principles which guide the search for the Way - Tao.
The Chinese Garden is an expression of artistic ideas which have
emerged from an intimate feeling for nature. Like Chinese landscape
paintings known as "Shan Shui" (mountains and water)
the essential elements are stones, representing mountains and
water. Trees and flowers are added to the garden, as well as
decorative garden architecture, pavings, the pavilion, arbor,
walls and gates.
All the plants growing in this garden originated in China. Flowers
are not chosen alone for their beauty, but as growing symbols
for Taoist ideas. For example, the peony, chrysanthemum, and
peach blossoms are symbols
for prosperity, long life and happiness. The bamboo, pine and
plum are emblems of longevity.
The Oroville Chinese Garden is a memorial to the original Chinese
Temple families and the many benefactors of the temple restoration.
This is one of very few Chinese gardens open to the public in
the United States. It is maintained by the Oroville Parks Department
and docent volunteers.
Typical Chinese Dwelling (1860-1870)