"It was a place where you got your information, and served as a post office -- it had an integral role in the community," Moy said of the building, as well as other similar sites. "It's a unique structure, even though architecturally it's very utilitarian and doesn't represent any high style of architecture. It's more about the people and the work they did." — Los Angeles Times
The National Trust for Historic Preservation released its list of the 11 most endangered buildings in the country and making that list is Southern California’s very own Rancho Cucamonga Chinatown House. No, the Chinatown House is not a restaurant at Victoria Gardens Shopping Center. Yes, Chinese immigrants made it to Rancho Cucamonga long before Ice Cube and cousin Day-Day ever did. Unbeknownst to most local residents, Rancho Cucamonga once housed a significant Chinese immigrant population that was vital to developing the agricultural economy of the Cucamonga Valley. However, in a similar fashion to other, small Chinatowns across California, this community eventually faded into obscurity. The Chinatown House is the last remnant of the role Chinese Americans played in the development of Rancho Cucamonga and much of the Inland Empire.
Located on the Southwest corner of San Bernardino Road and Klusman Ave, from 1919 to 1940 this two-story brick building housed Chinese Americans working as agricultural laborers. Although designated as a landmark in 1985, the building has fallen into disrepair. Last year, the property’s owner, the Cucamonga Valley Water District, moved forward to demolish the house until public concern effectively halted the demolition.
Advocates hope that attention from the National Trust designation will gather supporters and hopefully attract grant money for the rehabilitation of the building. The Chinatown House Preservation Coalition and other local advocates hope to save the structure and turn it into an educational space that highlights the contributions of Chinese immigrant labor and the area’s agricultural history. Those wishing to save the building carry the hope that it can instill in residents a deeper connection to the area. The Chinatown House tells the story of Rancho Cucamonga’s development from an agricultural town to a modern-day city.