Historic Chinese Town
In 1934, Al Adami bought Lee Bing's Chinese
restaurant, and converted it into the only non-Chinese business
in town. The sign outside says "Al's Place," but it
has been popularly known as Al the Wop's since 1941. Al died
in 1961, but his place remains as a bar and restaurant which
is famous for its steak dinners.
Al's Place is on the
east side of Main Street
The photos on this page were taken on
December 26, 2002 when Al's place was closed for the Christmas
holiday. Except for major holidays, Al's Place is open 7 days
a week year round.
Al's place was built
in 1915 by town founder, Lee Bing
West side of Main Street,
River Road Art Gallery
on west side of Main Street
The River Road Art Gallery has been in
this location since 1973. It displays arts and crafts done by
local artists. The gallery is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Window of River Road
The art gallery building was originally a dry goods store, built in 1916. Owyang Tin Git owned the building from 1916 to 1927. Tin Git moved to Locke after a fire in Walnut Grove's Chinatown burned it down on October 7, 1915. The building became the property of Suen Yock Lim in 1928; it housed a grocery store, pool hall and ice cream parlor where the patrons could also gamble. Meals were also served to single men from the kitchen which still exists in the back of the building and may be viewed by tourists.
Locke was built by the Chinese for the Chinese. It was a place where the Chinese people would not be subject to discrimination. Locke was a place where the Chinese could practice their way of life. They could speak their native language, practice their religious beliefs, cook their native foods, put up their shrines, and feel safe from the violence perpetrated against the Chinese in those times.