The Sun Sun Wo Store

The Sun Sun Wo Store is the lone remnant of one of the Mother Lode’s largest Chinatowns. Built in 1851, the store’s adobe walls were formed of soil which came from its basement excavation. Several inches of dirt were placed over the beamed ceiling which helped insulate those inside from winter cold and summer heat. It also made the ceiling fire resistant which accounts for the structure being one of the few buildings in Coulterville to survive the 1899 fire intact. The store is named after its original owners, Mow Da Sun and his son Sun Kow. It was the largest store in Coulterville under Chinese ownership, filling extensive orders from the surrounding mines and ranches, not just the local Chinatown. The store remained in continuous operation from 1851 to 1926 and the original shelves and counters are still inside. At the rear of the building are storerooms, a blacksmith shop and the store’s office. Strong evidence points to part of the office being used as an opium den. It is located on the corner of Kow and Main, across from the goats.