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The sign out front was easy to spot.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Weaverville Joss House SHP

630 Main Street, Weaverville, CA 96093
Open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10-5.
530-623-5284 1 Hour
October 2012 Summer, Fall, Spring
$0-9 Weaverville California
Website Historical Religious Sites
First review
The Weaverville Joss House is a Chinese Taoist temple built in 1874. It’s a relatively small building but is the oldest such Chinese temple still in use in California. The temple altar is replete with offerings and artifacts to Chinese deities. The historic site also includes a small museum and fish pond.

The presence of large numbers of Chinese men in northern California in the mid-1800s can be traced to economic hardships in China and the hope of instant wealth in the California gold rush. They came in large numbers and faced great physical hardships, rampant discrimination, and stark loneliness in pursuit of a better life. Many never returned home. The Weaverville Joss House was the third such temple built after the prior two temples burned. The word “Joss” stems from a Portuguese word for God. The Joss House was not a house of worship like a church but a place to make offerings to the gods and to pray for better times.

The Joss House is only open via a guided tour, and tours are offered on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s a good idea to call before visiting to make sure the site is open and tours are running. No pictures are permitted inside the temple, but the park’s website has a picture of the altar. The temple room is fairly simple from an architectural standpoint, but is decorated with a variety of ornaments, such as banners, flags, lanterns, candles and various offerings. The tours vary depending on the tour guide, but most last about 30 minutes and explain the purpose and uses of the Joss House, including a discussion of the artifacts, as well as the history of the Chinese community. The small museum is fairly basic and provides more information about the Chinese mining community including religious and cultural practices. If you are in the area and enjoy history or just want to broaden your horizons, the Joss House provides and interesting perspective on an obscure but notable chapter in Chinese American history.
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