• Interpretive Boulder/Panel Project Nears Completion

    To be placed at the site of the Chinese Fishing Village: Dedication September 20

    The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove along with the City of Pacific Grove, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and Gerry Low-Sabado, a fifth generation descendant of the Pacific Grove Chinese Fishing Village, are nearing completion of a project to place a boulder with an educational interpretive panel to mark the former site of the Village which is now occupied by Hopkins Marine Station and part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

    Dr. Annie Holdren from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History wrote “within a very limited space” the following text for the panel capturing significant aspects of the people’s lives that lived here. Careful input came also from Gerry Low-Sabado and some editing suggestions by historian and author Sandy Lydon.

    “Early Chinese Fishermen settled, struggled, and persevered while raising their families here. You are in the center of what used to be one of the largest Chinese fishing villages on the West Coast. From 1853 to 1906, this was the region’s Chinese cultural capital.

    “The village was unique among Chinese settlements of the time, because it housed not just single men but whole families with children. Pioneering women had sailed with men in seagoing junks directly from southern China.

    “The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 continued to prevent Chinese immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens. But the villagers’ children were born citizens. They became some of the nation’s first Chinese Americans.

    “The villagers created Monterey Bay’s first commercial fishing industry. They dried fish products and shipped them to San Francisco and China. When competition for daytime fisheries threatened them, residents of this village began night-time fishing in what is now one of California’s largest fisheries: market squid.

    “Quock Tuck Lee collected rare marine specimens for Stanford scientists. Quock was also the last man to leave the village after a fire of suspicious origin raced through it in 1906. For a year afterward, he argued for villager’s legal rights to stay on the land. Negotiations led to a site nearby on McAbee Beach.

    “Despite injustices, the Chinese families persevered. Their descendants continue to live in the region and make ongoing contributions to our communities.”

    Part of the title, “settled, struggled and persevered while raising their families here” was translated into Chinese for the panel thanks to Angela Yang and Lena Zee, scholars sought out by Gerry Low-Sabado.

    A local boulder was selected as the base for the panel after considerable evaluation of different materials used along our coast for historic or marine signs. The panel is being produced by Steve Vandyk and Chris Howell of KVO Industries, Inc., Santa Rosa and will be of porcelain enamel because of the retention of visual quality of this material. Design of the panel was by Jeff Norman of Shared Ground in Oakland with input from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove and Gerry Low-Sabado. The boulder has already been moved and placed by the City of Pacific Grove Public Works Department with design plans for the site provided by Scott Hall of the Heritage Society. Thank you to all of the above and also to Michael Miller, who will be donating his time and expertise as a contractor to preparing and installing the panel into the boulder.

    Historic photos provided for the panel were courtesy of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, the California Historical Society and Gerry Low-Sabado.

    Formative supporters of this project included: The Heritage Society Board with Steve Honneger as President voting yes to pick this project up again in 2009 after beginning it 2001-2003; advocacy from village descendant Gerry Low-Sabado; historian and author of Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region Sandy Lydon; Carmelita Garcia while Mayor of Pacific Grove; City of Pacific Grove Planning Department; City Public Works Department and City Manager Tom Frutchey; Lori Mannel and Annie Holdren along with the Board from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History; Steve Palumbi and George Somero from Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station along with Laura Jones and Sapna Marfatia from Stanford University; Dennis Tarmina, Claudia Sawyer, Sue Parris of National Coalition Building Institute, and Margaret Daugherty.

    The public is invited to a dedication with unveiling of the panel marking this important part of Pacific Grove’s history. The Dedication Ceremony will take place Saturday, September 20 at 10:00 a.m. along the Recreation Trail between Hopkins Marine Station and the Monterey Bay Aquarium across from the American Tin Cannery.


    Movers and shakers: The driving forces behind the new panel at the site of the Chinese Fishing Village

    Movers and shakers: The driving forces behind the new panel at the site of the Chinese Fishing Village

    Left to right:

    Janet Cohen, The Heritage Society of Pacific Grove

    Gerry Low-Sabado, 5th Generation Pacific Grove Chinese Fishing Village Descendant

    Annie Holdren Ph.D., Exhibitions Curator – Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

    posted to Cedar Street Times on August 25, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News, About PG


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