July 30, 2009

Frank Quan at China Camp


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Oh, I've mentioned Frank Quan before, the last remaining resident of China Camp.   This area, on the western shores of San Pablo Bay -- the northern thumb of San Francisco Bay -- once supported hundreds of Chinese immigrants.

Netting Bay Shrimp was one of the few occupations allowed a Chinese man.   CLICK for previous posts on Frank Quan and China Camp.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The big annual Heritage Day Celebration will be held this year on August 29 (((which just happens to be my brithday))).   See you there.

The Grace Quan, a recently built Chinese Junk named after Frank's colorful mother, will be on display at the dock.   Rumors are flying that The Alma, a historic sixty-foot scow schooner, will be visiting from the Hyde Street Pier.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Frank Quan still goes out and sets his nets, but he would like to be catching a lot more Bay Shrimp.   Over the years the salinity of San Pablo Bay has risen causing shrimp populations to fall.   Fresh water that would normally flush San Pablo Bay is now largely diverted for agriculture in the Central Valley.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

If you love metal that screams rust -- and who doesn't;
and weathered boards that have seen it all,
and strings of old funky wiring that you hope they never use
-- then you're probably going to love China Camp.


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Your comments are invited and welcome.

3 comments:

Rhett Redelings said...

Ah, I love China Camp. I was lucky enough to have a pinhole camera with me when some friends of his were working on another boat and they convinced him to let me and my wife through the gate and on to the dock to photograph the Grace Quan (do you know what happened to it?) up close. Frank seemed to have serious misgivings about it so I printed up 8x8 copies, went back and loitered around until he showed himself. He smiled, shook my hand and seemed genuinely surprised that I came back. If not for the dog that bit me, it would have been a brilliantly touching moment...

Anyway, thank you for these. Lovely!

Marvin said...

It's hard not to have mixed feeling about China Camp and Frank Quan -- not that I really know either. They represent the end of an era and that's sad. On the other hand, there are many things about that era that warrant ending.

Thanks for your great photos.

JANET said...

Thank you so much for posting an image of Frank Quan. My grandmother, Edna Weber, lived at China Camp with her husband and two children until they bought their home in San Rafeal. After losing her husband, Frank took care of Edna until she passed away (I believe I was 12 at the time) and that was last time I saw Frank Quan.
The Quan's and the Weber's always remained close. I spent a few Easters at China Camp. We hunted for eggs up on a grassy hillside. I have many many happy memories of playing at China Camp as a child. It was such a magical place to play.
I am assuming that Weber Point is named for my family. This warms my heart.
I plan to go to Back and visit China Camp after moving back to California in the coming months. I hope I will get to see Frank again.
Sincrely ~ Janet (Weber) Paoli

 
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