National Register of Historic Places in Calaveras County
The Sam Choy Store is a typical Mother Lode brick Classical Revival commercial building with a three-bay front and walls of native schist stone. It was built for Sam Choy, the most prosperous of the local Chinese merchants. Choy raised his family in Angels Camp, sending his daughters back to China so that they could take their place in Chinese society.
Chinatown consisted of about twenty separate properties: gardens, lodging houses, gambling dens, opium dens, a wash house, two stores made of brick, and one store made of adobe.
The graveyard was on a hill to the north. All of the bodies were disinterred for shipment back to China, many of them not until the early 1930's.
Most of the Chinese were single men. Many resided on bunks in lodging houses. Many of the single men worked as miners along Angels Creek in the Slab Ranch area to the east.
In addition to the brick store, Choy owned several gambling dens. He controlled groups of Chinese workers, who were contracted to the mine owners, and he furnished the workers with food clothing, lodging, tools, and women. He collected the pay from the contractor and controlled the workers' finances.
At the beginning of he 20th century, the property was owned by an Italian who added a wood frame second story which was occupied as a "female boarding house" with a Chinese staff.
From the 1930's through the 1950's the building was used as the Angels Camp Jail. Old timers still remember drunks singing in the jail all the night long.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination.
Gold Rush Stonemasons
Mining camps started as clusters of tents and other makeshift shelters. If the mine was productive, wooden buildings were erected and a town was born.
Conflagrations were a recurring curse. Often entire town were repeatedly destroyed by fire. Stonemasons, especially Italian immigrants from Liguria, began building "fire proof" banks and stores of stone or brick with iron doors and iron window shutters to protect the contents from fire.
Many of these stone buildings survive. Some of them, such as the Butte Store, are the sole reminders of a lost mining town.
Some of these buildings are: