The Chew Kee Store

The Chew Kee Store is a true Gold Rush rarity, being one of the Mother Lode’s few remaining rammed earth buildings. It was built about 1850 by the Chinese of Fiddletown for herbal doctor Yee Fan-Chung. The adobe building was constructed using traditional Chinese rammed earth techniques, which involved leveling the site and placing a thin layer of gravel and stones for the foundation. Forms for ramming the earth were then laid down, and the process of mixing adobe, packing it into the forms, and then moving the forms to the next row began. As the ramming forms moved upward, two doors and four windows were built into the walls. Two of the windows were later filled in with adobe bricks. The completed building was thirty-four feet long by about twenty-one feet wide. The rammed earth walls are between twenty-two and twenty-four inches thick.

California Gold Country
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