Latitude / Longitude:
37°52′13″N 120°26′1″W / 37.87028°N 120.43361°W / 37.87028
1,273 ft (388 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Chinese Camp is a census-designated place (CDP) in Tuolumne County, California, United States. The population was 126 at the 2010 census, down from 146 at the 2000 census. It lies in the grassy foothills of the Sierra Nevada near the southern end of California’s Gold Country.
Wilderness near Chinese Camp is the location of the last remaining known population of the federally listed threatened plant species Brodiaea pallida, the Chinese Camp brodiaea. Chinese Camp is the remnant of a notable California Gold Rush mining town. The settlement was first known as “Camp Washington” or “Washingtonville” and one of the few remaining streets is Washington Street. Some of the very first Chinese laborers arriving in California in 1849 were driven from neighboring Camp Salvado and resettled here, and the area started to become known as “Chinee” or “Chinese Camp” or “Chinese Diggings”. At one point the town was home to an estimated 5,000 Chinese.
The Chinese Camp post office was established in the general store on April 18, 1854. This building is currently vacant, and a post office is in operation on a plot of land rented from a local resident.
An 1892 Tuolumne County history indicates that, in 1856, four of the six Chinese companies (protective associations) had agents here and that the first tong war (between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo tongs) was fought near here when the population of the area totaled several thousand. The actual location is several miles away, past the ‘red hills’, near the junction of Red Hills Road and J-59.