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Oroville, Calif.'s, Chinese Temple

Liet Sheng Kong is California's oldest and best preserved Chinese temple still in continuous operation.


Liet Sheng Kong or Temple of Many Deities in Oroville, California picture
Photo caption
The Temple of Many Deities' Moon Room contains an ornate and richly decorated altar.

Stand before an altar in the Chinese Temple and Museum of Oroville, Calif., and you can sense the pride of the Gold Rush–era miners and railroad workers who brought the room's rich adornments all the way from Asia.

Built in 1863 with funds donated by the emperor and empress of China, the Temple of Many Deities (Liet Sheng Kong) is California's oldest Chinese temple still in continuous operation. The complex, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, includes two additional chapels; halls displaying tapestries, photographs, and artifacts; a gift shop; and an apothecary building.

The temple underwent a $500,000 restoration last year. A moon gate decorated with characters representing long life now marks the entrance to the gardens planted with trees and shrubs brought as cuttings by immigrants. Visit in summer when the pansies around the koi pond bloom.

This article was first published in Summer 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.