May 07, 2012

Weaverville Joss House

This month, we are trying to make a trip to the Weaverville Joss House, a California state park in danger of closure by this summer (short video below and some history a few paragraphs down).  Over 70 state parks are on this closure list, which was instituted last year by Gov. Brown in a feeble attempt to close the state's budget gap.  As this summer nears, I fondly look back to our early autumn vacation last year, blogged about here, which included a trip to another park on the closure list.

At times like these, I get so angry and frustrated by our bureaucracy, our lack of a cohesive governmental structure.  I want to slap the hands of the greedy, in addition to desperately wanting to redistribute the wealth and the misappropriated funds.  Difference of politics or not, a viable, workable solution cannot be implemented when a bipartisanship does not fully acknowledge and own up to their respective finger-pointing.  Things must be done for the public good, rather than for individual or corporate interests--even if we are down deep in a wad of debt.  Like my pun?  I know that I am not alone in this thought.

Weaverville Joss House: History

"The Chinese population of Weaverville started to decline after the 1850s, as gold ore became scarcer, and many left to work on railroad construction. By 1931 only 16 were counted in town. In 1933 the Weaverville Chamber of Commerce went on record in support of making the Joss House a State Historic Park, but nothing came of the proposal for another 23 years. Without the efforts of Moon Lim Lee, the Weaverville Joss House probably would not have survived. Moon Lee started his business career at the age of seven, selling vegetables from a horse-drawn cart. He continually improved and extended his enterprises and became a successful grocer and merchant. He worked constantly in his later years to preserve the Joss House and get it added to the State Park System. He was appointed trustee of the temple in 1938. Moon Lee continued to promote the Joss House as a historic treasure for his own people and for all California and the world until his death in 1985, at the age of 82."  (From here)

"Moon Lim Lee, the last Chinese caretaker for the Weaverville Taoist Temple, formed the Weaverville Joss House Association in 1983. Mr. Lee and his wife Dorothy donated the "The Temple of the Forest beneath the Clouds" to the California State Parks in 1956 to preserve the structure and increase awareness of the cultural contributions made by the Chinese in California. Today the association continues to support the State Park effort in preserving the temple, built by Mr. Lee's ancestors in 1874."  (From here)


Politics aside, as a descendant of Gold Rush-era Chinese male immigrants to the US, I would really hate to see a part of history from that era, gone.  This video truly sums up my sentiments.

Another state park with Chinese American history, China Camp, will close in July, making it probable that two state parks with a race-based history will close this year.  There are just too many coincidences and ironies in that act alone...

5/23/12 UPDATE:
Funding goals have been met and agreements have been made--the Weaverville Joss House will stay open for the next year!

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