By JASON CAMPBELL
LOCKE – There’s something unique about gold rush era communities in the Mother Lode.
Maybe it’s the history or the architecture or the way that the buildings have been preserved during a time when it’s easier to tear something down and start over from scratch, but whatever the reason a drive through a old mountain town always gives you a sense of perspective on the way things used to be.
But you don’t necessarily have to drive up to the mountains to get that feeling.
And if it’s history that you’re looking for, one Delta town has all of that and more.
Locke – located out on the Sacramento River – holds the distinction of being one of the first places in California where Chinese settlers where they were able to set-up, work the land, and live without the discrimination they discovered in some of the larger cities where they had been brought in as laborers and to serve the growing mining populations.
Today it isn’t as spotless as you’d expect a historic district that draws people in from around the area to be. The buildings are beyond rustic, and it has somewhat of a dirtier feel to it almost as if the buildings have been untouched since they were first constructed or rebuilt after a fire ravaged the town more than a century ago.
But it’s the sense of standing somewhere that settlers did that gives Locke the unique feel that makes it worth visiting.
And if you’re looking to truly get the flavor of the town, settling up on a stool at Al The Wop’s and imagine that it’s a century ago and you’re pondering the possibilities of setting up shop in the west.
“There aren’t a lot of Chinese settlements like this outside of major cities, so it’s kind of neat to see where these farmers and fisherman set up,” said Mark Fisher, who rides his bike out through the area and enjoys the historic scenery. “There are lots of cool Delta towns like that in the area, but there’s something that’s different about Locke and the history of the buildings and the land and the people”
Locke is located just north of Walnut Grove, and can be accessed by taking I-5 North to the Thornton-Walnut Grove exit and heading west. Drive through Walnut Grove and the road will take you across the Delta Channel and straight into town.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.