China Camp State Park: Where past and present live side by side

Aug 27, 2014

Lots of us know about China Camp State Park--there’s good hiking and mountain biking, and the beaches along San Pablo Bay are peaceful. But before China Camp was a state park, it was a settlement where many Chinese immigrants made a living, and a home.   Frank Quan   who's in his late 80's still lives there.

Frank's grandfather was the first Quan to live here, in the 1890’s. Back then, China Camp was one of a few dozen fishing villages that dotted the Bay Area’s shores.

When the settlement became a state park in the late-1970s, Frank Quan's 'lifelong residency' was written into the park's general plan, and he still lives in the wooden shacks where he grew up, carrying on the work of his family--welcoming visitors to his home.

One of his most frequent visitors is boatbuilder and San Francisco Maritime Historical Park curator John Muir. No, not that John Muir.

Most weekends, you can find Frank and John hanging out at China Camp--in the boat shop, on the water, or having a cocktail on Frank’s front porch. If you want to know the history of China Camp, that porch is the place to be. 

To listen to this story, please click on the audio player above. 

You can see the Grace Quan for yourself at a series of events exploring the history of Chinese fishing communities in the Bay Area beginning September 6th. Find more details here: Chinese Whispers