Only a few historic sites remain from the early Chinese pioneers in Santa Clara County, California, and perhaps the most important of these is the Historic Chinese American Cemetery in San Jose.
Since Chinese were not allowed to be buried in other cemeteries, eight Chinese organizations were deeded the land for their own cemetery in 1902. The modest, 140-foot by 160-foot cemetery is located at 300-A Curtner Avenue near Monterey Road, next to Oak Hill Cemetery.
The cemetery contains more than 249 graves of early Chinese pioneers in the country. While the grave locations are unmarked, individual burial sites are identified by the name of the deceased on a burial plot map. Earlier cemetery rehabilitation revealed that no items of value were interred. The significance of the site is purely historical and cultural.
The cemetery contains a small altar consisting of a marble memorial stone set in brick. A tall square brick structure with a pyramidal roof served as a burner for paper offerings.
In 1980, the nonprofit South Bay Historic Chinese American Cemetery Corporation (SBHCACC) was established to hold title to the cemetery, to maintain it, and to educate the community concerning its significance. These include archiving and recording the history of the cemetery to provide resources for current and future historians, building a monument memorializing the Chinese Americans who lived and died in Santa Clara and those still in the cemetery, and engaging with the community to keep the history alive.
See Also: Ching Ming: Grave-Sweeping Day