Legacy Communities: Walnut Grove
The three legacy towns, Walnut Grove, Clarksburg, and Courtland, were established shortly after the first settlement in the Delta region. In this issue of Delta Voice, we focus on Walnut Grove, the legacy town known in the early years for its commercial and cultural establishments, including canneries, a theater, and several European-style hotels.
Walnut Grove remains the only early legacy town to occupy both sides of the river; you have to travel upriver to Red Bluff to find another town spanning the river. Initially, people would take the ferry across the river, until a bridge was built to connect the two sides. The late 1870’s brought about new development to the east side of the river, including a hotel, covered wharf, and warehouses. The west side of the river was primarily a suburb for Walnut Grove’s more prestigious families. These streets were given names such as “Asparagus Row” and the people considered themselves to be part of the “pearistocracy.”
In the mid-1870’s, the first Chinese settlement was founded in Walnut Grove. This eventually turned into the largest Chinatown in the Delta, which was comprised of two different residential groups: the Zhongshan and Sze Yup. Each group spoke a different dialect and settled in separate areas of town. A 1915 fire destroyed almost 100 structures and ultimately resulted in the Zhongshan relocating and building their own Chinatown in Locke, only a mile north of Walnut Grove. Another fire in 1937 destroyed the Sze Yup’s Chinatown in Walnut Grove; thus, almost all of the buildings standing today in Walnut Grove’s Chinatown are post-1937 era.
Currently, Walnut Grove is divided into three well-known sections. First, located on the high ridge of the east bank levee is the main business section. Behind the levee is old town, which includes some of the commercial activities Walnut Grove has to offer along with Chinatown and Japantown. Lastly, across the main bridge are stores, churches, and the “bedroom community.” Overall, this is a great little town and has something to offer everyone!
6Tunnel Trailer Park
14370 State Highway 160, Walnut Grove
21Boon Dox Dock
14175 River Road, Walnut Grove
14031 State Highway 160, Walnut Grove
30Anchor Boat Storage
14410 Thornton-Walnut Grove Road, Walnut Grove
35Tesoros Gift & Thrift
1258 C Street, Walnut Grove