The Chinatown House (or "China House") is the last vestige of Rancho Cucamonga's once-thriving Chinatown. Furthermore it is the last known structure built for Chinese workers remaining in Southern California, outside the City of Los Angeles. In the 19th century, small Chinatown settlements developed all over California around industries such as mining, railroad, fishing, and agriculture. These have largely disappeared from the landscape, and indeed many people today have forgotten the crucial role that Chinese American labor played in the building of the region.
Built in 1919 by Chinese laborers, the Chinatown House truly served as the community's nucleus. The two-story brick building provided housing and a general store for a community of fifty Chinese American laborers. Veterans of the transcontinental railroad of earlier decades, the laborers eventually made their way south to work in the orchards, vineyards, and citrus groves of Southern California. Agricultural landscapes dominated the Cucamonga Valley until a residential real estate boom in the late 20th century.
An intact reminder of the area's early history, it provides an opportunity to educate the public about the contributions of Chinese labor to the development of California and the West. Reactivating the Chinatown House as an interpretive center would help ensure that this part of Rancho Cucamonga's history is not erased from public memory.
Photography by O.C. Lee
State of California Dept. of Parks and Recreation Survey of Chinatown House (1987)
Map outlining Chinatown House parcel