A long time coming – Chinese monument nears dedication | TheUnion.com

A long time coming – Chinese monument nears dedication

The sign announcing the future home of the Chinese Quarter Monument on Commercial Street in Nevada City is obscured by shrubbery, and the small plot behind it resembles an abandoned construction site.

But after seven years of planning, fund-raising and work by volunteers, the monument’s promoters hope to dedicate the site in the next 30 days.

“I hope this is just not wishful thinking,” said Bob Buhlis, owner of the Nevada City Postal Co. and chairman of the Chinese Quarter Society, formed to promote greater awareness of the contribution of Chinese pioneers to western Nevada County.

The dedication awaits the planting of a Pinus Conturta sculptured shore pine tree at the site. The tree has been purchased and plumbing has been installed in the small plot surrounded by asphalt.

Eventually, rocks and a reflecting pool will be installed at the monument to honor the Chinese who came to Nevada County to mine gold and build the railroads.

The society originally hoped to raise about $65,000 for the project, but that has been scaled back to $40,000. More than $25,000 has been raised to date, according to Buhlis.

Interested residents met in 1997 to find a way to commemorate the role of Chinese in the area, and the monument was proposed. The City of Nevada City donated the equivalent of two parking spaces – about 300 square feet – for the monument.

Since then, the society has been involved in planning the monument, fund-raising, obtaining the necessary permits from the city, and coordinating the work of volunteers.

“The project is educational, and it also has some commercial value,” Buhlis said. “It’s a part of our history that hasn’t received enough attention.”

The Chinese Quarter was established in Nevada City in the 1860s and more than 300 Chinese once lived in the area now known as upper Commercial Street. By 1880, the county’s Chinese population had grown to about 3,000.

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