11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Bok Kai Temple

Year Listed: 2001
Location: Marysville, California
Threat: Deterioration, Natural Forces

Medium-sized image unavailable for this photo.
The surviving temple murals located above the front entry depicting vivid scenes of Chinese culture have been stabilized

Credit: Joan Mann, July 2007

Significance

Situated on the north bank of the Yuba River, in the heart of northern California's Sacramento Valley, the Bok Kai Temple is the oldest continuously operating Chinese temple in Northern California. Constructed in 1880, the temple served as a place of worship, community center, and court of law for a flourishing Chinese community attracted to the area by the California gold rush. More than 120 years later, the temple remains in use for worship and is celebrated by the entire Marysville community during the annual Bok Kai Festival. The temple is particularly significant for its rare exterior murals depicting Chinese cultural traditions, and an intact interior of gilded altars honoring Chinese water god Bok Eye and other deities.