Located in the primarily agricultural region southwest of Sacramento, Locke was established by Chinese immigrants in 1915, migrating from nearby Walnut Grove after a fire destroyed the Chinatown area. The town of Locke was leased, settled and established by Yeuhai-speaking Chinese, primarily from the Zhongshan region of China. The town was built ‘by the Chinese, for the Chinese’, and hosted a Chinese-language school, general stores and restaurants as well as speakeasys and brothels. The town was purchased in 1977 by a Hong Kong-based developer with plans to convert Locke into a housing development and tourist attraction, but plans have met with resistance from the local residents, now predominantly white.
The saga of Locke and an overview of it’s current residents has been chronicled by Jeff Gillenkirk and James Motlow –