Temple of Kwan Tai, Mendocino

It was easy enough for me to find this brightly painted (and lovingly cared for) historic site along Albion Street in the village of Mendocino. According to The Hiker’s Hip Pocket Guide to the Mendocino Coast by Bob Lorentzen, the first Chinese arrived in this area when their boat, headed for the gold rush, was shipwrecked on the Mendocino coast. By the 1880s there were approximately 250 Chinese living in the village of Mendocino and a rough total of 600 on the entire coast. Most worked as laborers in the local logging camps and mills.

One of the oldest of California’s Chinese houses of worship in continuous use, the temple may date back as far as 1854, though its documented history reaches only to 1883. The Chinese built many temples in California, but most have been destroyed, and no others remain on the North Coast — California Historical Landmarks, 1996 edition