Friday, September 30, 2011

Temple of Kwan Tai

Mendocino County, July 29, 2010

Not far south of Fort Bragg and rolling down highway 1 on a typical cool, grey sky morning, we turn off into the small town of Mendocino, where time and architecture seem to stay fixed in a Steinbeck setting, as modest rows of artist-bait houses peer out from the bluff over the south facing bay. It’s down the second row we find the Temple of Kwan Tai, and except for bold paint, it looks like just another wood framed home along the narrow and quiet non-curbed road.

In the scheme of qualifying to be a California state landmark, it has to be first, last, biggest, smallest, or somehow of significance to the state's history, and the Temple of Kwan Tai fist in by being the oldest original Chhinese Joss House in rural California.

Kwan Tai, the God King was an actual person who lived roughly between 161 to 219 AD. “With a rank equal to that of Confucius, Kwan Tai is a Taoist symbol of integrity and loyalty. People pray to Kwan Tai for assistance, or to have something done. He was chosen as patron by the merchants of the guild, and as one of three patrons of the men of letters. In Hong Kong, where his birthday is celebrated each year on June 15, he is recognized as the patron of Hong Kong's police...and also of the gangsters.” – Temple of Kwan Tai website.

Plaque inscription: NO. 927 (N) TEMPLE OF KWAN TAI - One of the oldest of California's Chinese houses of worship in continuous use, the temple may date back as far as 1854, though its documented history reaches only to 1883. The Chinese built many temples in California, but most have been destroyed, and no others remain on the North Coast.
Location: 45160 Albion St, Mendocino 95460
GPS 39.304824,-123.803258

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