Dai Loy Mu: a Gambling Museum In the Only Town Built by Chinese for Chinese in the USA
Dai Loy Mu is a small museum that was once as a Chinese gambling house in Locke, a tiny riverside town near Walnut Grove, CA. Opening in 1915, the building served the Chinese of the area who worked on farms and did other forms of manual labor until the state government shut its doors in the early fifties.
Backstory and Context
Chinese architects and builders laid out and built the town. By the 1920s, Locke basically looked the same as it does now. In its heyday of the 1940’s, Locke boasted restaurants, bakeries, herbs, shops, fish markets, gambling halls, boarding houses, brothels, grocery stores, a school, clothing stores, a Star Theatre and close to 1500 people living there.
The current day Dai Loy Mu is more than a one-time gambling house. Not only does it house many of its gambling tables and decor, it also has displays sharing the stories of the Chinese who used to live in the Locke and other towns in the Delta regions such as Courtland, Isleton, and Rio Vista. Though there were once many Chinese calling Locke home, today there are only about 10 out of a total population of 90.