in April 1853 that Cantonese Chinese fishermen established
a fishing village on shores of Point Alones in Monterey.
The oriental pioneers were from San Francisco and the
coastal mines of the west coast.These fishermen set up
camps on Carbillo Point (now the site of the John Hopkins
Marine Station) and on Pascadero Point in Carmel Bay.
At first the fishermen harvested just Abalone but soon
started fishing for many types of fish , mussels, oysters,
Abolone shells, seaweed as well as shark oil and shark
fin.. Most of the catch was dried for markets in San Francisco
and China. Dried squid was used as a fertilizer in china.
After the completion of a railroad into Monterey the Chinese
were able export roughly two hundred to eight hundred
pounds of fresh fish to San Francisco every day or one
hundred tons per year. With the use of gill nets and very
efficient fishing techniques many species of fish were
soon depleted such as the halibut. The Chinese fishermen
were the first to commercialize the fishing industry in
Abalone was not much thought of in those days. The Chinese
dried and cooked the Abalone for a long time before it
could be tender enough to eat. It was not until someone
thought of tenderizing the Abalone meat by pounding it
with a mallet that the Americans discovered, and tasted
what they have been missing. Abalone was then on its way
to being overfished.
village was built directly on the rocks of on the seashore.
The living conditions were not ideal, the smell of drying
fish permeated the fishing village. The Chinese style
boats used for fishing were built in San Francisco. Large
Chinese junks from china would anchor off what was to
be cannery row, exchanging goods and loading their cargo
holds with dried squid for the return trip to China.
New Year was always a generous time for the fishing village.
The Chinese typically invited all the locals to the celebrations
and even offered free food and gifts for all.
a fully self contained community the Chinese suffered
great prejudice and perhaps jealousy of their success.
There are many incidents of the Chinese being harmed.
was political pressure from some of the citizens that
forced the land owners of the village land not to renew
the village land lease. A few years later In May 16, 1906
a mysterious fire started in a Chinatown barn. Many of
the Pacific Grove residents tried to help in putting out
the fire but they were not successful and the village
burned down. After the fire was out the Chinese villagers
were told that they could not rebuild their village and
homes. The fire tragedy ended the dreams of these brave
pioneers. Having lost their profession and lively hood
as fishermen and village many of the village residents
scatered to different parts of the county. Some Chinese
stayed and lived in the north end of
Cannery Row and were the early hired workers in the Monterey