Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp

Yem-Po: Chinese Labor Camp (HM1CZC)

Location: Oakland, CA 94605 Alameda County
Country: United States of America

N 37° 43.793', W 122° 7.423'

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Lake Chabot Historical Walk

In 1979 a renovation of Chabot dam unearthed a century-old Chinese encampment buried in the creek embankment below. California State University Hayward (now called California State University, East Bay) was contracted and students excavated over 60,000 artifacts revealing the once invisible life, diet, and work habits of the 800 Chinese people who worked on Chabot dam from 1874-1892.

Soy pots and stoneware rice bowls spoke of familiar foods. Remnants of imported turtle and perhaps wild cat disclosed the use of traditional medicines for vitality. Opium bowls and paraphernalia pointed to the enjoyment of an ancient pastime. Rusting pieces of metal tools communicated the similarity of tasks performed by many in the gold mines of the Sierra and railways.

The excavators named the historic work camp "Yema-po," Cantonese for "wild-horse slope." This acknowledges the role of the Chinese laborers in running horses across the dam to compact the soil during its construction, one of their many contributions. Just as the name "Yema Po" preserves their cultural heritage, we too can preserve their memory in the stories in of the dam.

Did you know that of the 20,000 animal bones found at Yema-po, 70% were pig, revealing a diet much heavier in pork than their Euro-American counterparts? Also found were the remnants of cuttlefish, duck, turtle, and rare fish like the puffer fish.
Year Placed2012
Placed ByEast Bay Regional Park District
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 7:25pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 577217 N 4176207
Decimal Degrees37.72988333, -122.12371667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 43.793', W 122° 7.423'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 43' 47.58" N, 122° 7' 25.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)510
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100 Bass Cove Trail, Oakland CA 94605, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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