The president of the historical society in Isleton, California has inherited a two-story wooden building with tin sides that she believes once housed a Chinese Tong.
In the late 1800s, Chinese immigrants risked all to start a new life in America. But Americans who feared losing jobs to the new, cheap labor turned the land of opportunity hostile. Chinatowns burned, ethnic slurs flew and Congress prohibited Chinese laborers from entering or working in the country.
For outcast Chinese, Tongs were places of protection and solidarity during this time of chaos, where they could worship, study and settle legal disputes peacefully.
In the newspapers, the Tongs were secretive centers of gangland warfare, opium deals and gambling.
Was there a Tong operating inside Isleton’s once-booming Chinatown? If so, what happened there?
History Detectives examines a colorful building and the sometimes secretive societies of the Chinese immigrant past.
- Related Investigation Josh White Guitar What role did this guitar play in the transformation of the music industry in the 1960's?
- Related Investigation Seth Eastman Painting Is this painting a true depiction of Native American life from one of the premiere painters of the American West?
- Also with Gwen Wright China Marine Jacket Can the symbols on this jacket identify a marine who may have witnessed paradise tumbling into disaster?
- Also in Emerging Modern America: 1890-1930 Silent Film Reel Could this film reel could be a silent movie once lost forever to history?
- Also with Gwen Wright Unwed Mother's Home Is this small medallion enough information to help a woman find her birth parents?
- Also with Gwen Wright Body In The Basement Are these the remains of an executed prisoner of war from an English Civil War battle?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.