Chinese Camp is a census-designated place (CDP) in Tuolumne County, California, United States. The population was 146 at the 2000 census. It lies in the grassy foothills of the Sierra near the southern end of California's Gold Country.
Chinese Camp is the remnant of a notable California Gold Rush mining town. The settlement was first known as "Camp Washington" or "Washingtonville" and one of the few remaining streets is Washington Street. Some of the very first Chinese laborers arriving in California in 1849 were driven from neighboring Camp Salvado and resettled here, and the area started to become known as "Chinee" or "Chinese Camp" or "Chinese Diggings". At one point the town was home to an estimated 5,000 Chinese. Consequently, there were several Joss houses.
The Chinese Camp post office was established in the general store on April 18, 1854. This building is currently vacant, and a post office is in operation on a plot of land rented from a local resident.
An 1892 Tuolumne County history indicates that, in 1856, four of the six Chinese companies (protective associations) had agents here and that the first tong war (between the Sam Yap and Yan Woo tongs) was fought near here when the population of the area totaled several thousand. The actual location is several miles away, past the 'red hills', near the junction of Red Hills Road and J-59.
An 1860 diary says Chinese Camp was the metropolis for the mining district, with many urban comforts. While placer mining had played out in much of the Gold Country by the early 1860s, it was still active here as late as 1870. An 1899 mining bulletin listed the total gold production of the area as near US$2.5 million.
Chinese Camp is the location and subject of California Historical Landmark 423 - The Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, established in 1849, making it the oldest church in the county. The church was renovated in 1949 by John Nicolini and is still maintained out of private funds by a local resident. The church itself is owned by the Stockton archdiocese.
The current Chinese Camp School is very distinctive, having been designed by Dolores Nicolini in the style of a Chinese pagoda. This school has been in operation since 1970. Previously, the school was in a building near the church. This building was lost in a fire on May 4, 2006. The fire was caused by carelessness on the part of several local individuals.
Chinese Camp is located at(37.870294, -120.433526).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 146 people, 57 households, and 38 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 162.5 people per square mile (62.6/km²). There were 64 housing units at an average density of 71.2/sq mi (27.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.78% White, 1.37% African American, 3.42% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.68% from other races, and 2.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.64% of the population.
There were 57 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 117.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.0 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,875, and the median income for a family was $35,833. Males had a median income of $25,833 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,501. There were 20.6% of families and 22.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including 36.4% of under eighteens and 14.3% of those over 64.
In the state legislature Chinese Camp is located in the 14th Senate District, represented by Republican Dave Cogdill, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill. Federally, Chinese Camp is located in California's 19th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican George Radanovich.