The Chinese American Historical Museum
Ng Shing Gung building
The Ng Shing Gung was built in San Joses Heinlenville
Chinatown in 1888. The ground floor functioned as a community center
with a Chinese calligraphy and literature classroom for children. An elaborately
carved and gilded altar stood on the second floor. The temple housed
statues of five divinities: Kwan Yin, Goddess of Mercy; Choi Sun, God of
Wealth; Cheng Huan, God of Canton City; Kwan Gung, God of War and Justice;
and Tien Hou, Queen of Heaven.
The historic photo on this page (reprinted with permission of the San
Jose Historical Museum) shows the Ng Shing Gung decorated with paper figures
for San Jose Chinatowns Da Jui celebration.
By the 1930s, many of Heinlenvilles original residents had passed on.
Their children had grown up and integrated into the community at large,
and the Chinese Exclusion Act had prevented new arrivals from China. When
the Heinlenville estate declared bankruptcy, Heinlenville became the property
of the City of San Jose, which razed the area with the exception of the
Ng Shing Gung.
Despite the objections of Clyde Arbuckle and other local historians,
this last remnant of Heinlenville, was dismantled in 1949. In 1991, this
piece of history was recovered, when the Ng Shing Gung was replicated and
dedicated it to the community by the Chinese Historical
and Cultural Project. CHCP also established a long term maintainence
trust fund of $45,000 to ensure the building will be
kept up in future years.