Tehama - The Magazine

Fall 2013

Tehama - The Magazine - Red Bluff Daily News

Issue link: http://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/195321

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Page 13 of 31

The Chinese Tunnels of Red Bluff By Bryon Burruss The legends have persisted for generations. The Chinese residents of Tehama County in the 19th century, they say, created a vast secret network of underground passageways throughout downtown Red Bluff, and used the tunnels to move around after curfew, in the middle of the night, smoking opium, smuggling illegal goods from the riverboats and trafficking in human slaves. It's no surprise that a mythos grew up around the Chinese. They arrived here — mostly young men in their teens and 20s — with people from throughout the world on the crest of A photo by Susan Boer from 1966 shows the top of a door archway in the alley behind Brooks' Drug Store, in the 700 block of Main Street. This would seem to support speculation that the basements of Main Street shops may once have been the first floor, before the streets were built up and leveled out over the years. 14 Tehama - the Magazine, October, 2013 the Gold Rush, to work the mines and pan the rivers in the early 1850s. As a people, their culture could hardly have been more different than that of early California whites and they socialized little. They spoke little or no English and they kept to themselves, congregating together in small neighborhoods of sparse and modest shacks, preferring to send money back to family in China than to live conspicuously and recirculate the money locally. In Red Bluff, their community was in a two block stretch along High Street (now Rio Street), known as Red Bluff Chinatown.

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