Chinese Temple information
Lonely Planet review
By the levee, the Chinese Temple is a compelling draw that really exceeds expectations. Today there is no Chinatown in Oroville, but at one time the town was bustling with more than 10,000 Chinese. A 1907 flood wiped out Chinatown and many Chinese stayed to help rebuild the levee, but their numbers rapidly dwindled afterwards.
During the 19th century, traveling theater troupes from China toured a circuit of Chinatowns in California. Oroville was the end of the line, and the troupes often left their sets, costumes and puppets here before heading back to China. Consequently, Oroville has a collection of 19th-century stage finery unrivaled anywhere in California. The old temple, a beautifully preserved building, is also jam-packed with religious shrines, festival tapestries, ancient lion masks and furniture. Be sure to take advantage of docent-led tours, which can take an hour or more but really put everything into context.