Vintage landscape: Locke garden

.    .    .   I keep
a beautiful garden, all abundance,
indiscriminate, pulling itself
from the stubborn earth.   .   .   .

Paisley Rekdal, from “Happiness

Historic American Buildings Survey, Town of Locke, CA/enclos*ureA garden plot in a communal garden, Town of Locke, Sacramento County, Ca. Photo by Jet Lowe, April 1984, part of a Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the town, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

From the 1984 HABS report:

Locke, California, is a small, rural Chinese ghetto on the Sacramento River.  It was developed in the early 20th century to serve Chungshan Chinese laborers who worked in the fruit orchards and vegetable fields in California’s Delta region. Today, virtually all Chinese communities in America are urban enclaves.  By contrast, Locke has remained an unincorporated village since its founding in 1915.  For this reason, it is unique within the United States as the only extant rural Chinese community still occupied by Chinese people.

Today, the population of Locke is 70 to 80 people, about 10 of whom are of Chinese descent.

2 thoughts on “Vintage landscape: Locke garden

  1. What a find! I imagine many hours spent tending this communal garden. Do you know if it still exists? I am Chinese American, and would love to visit Locke, CA. My sisters live near LA.
    Cheers from DC,

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