Western Trips

Western Trips

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain / See This Documentary

Gold Mountain is the name the Chinese gave California during the Gold Rush days. The documentary, Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain, traces the path of Chinese immigrants who came to California in the 1850s. This documentary was filmed in Sacramento, Auburn, Marysville, Locke, Fiddletown, Oroville, St. Helena, Monterey and Donner Summit.

About the Documentary

Chinese dwelling near Dutch Flat
The documentary takes viewers to places where the Chinese lived and worked. In the Sierra Nevada, viewers will see the tunnels the Chinese blasted through solid granite to help build the transcontinental railroad through the mountains.

The documentary shows how Chinese built the levees in the San Francisco Bay Delta that reclaimed thousands of acres for agriculture. Chinese were also involved in the creation of California's wine industry, and the film takes viewers inside the wine caves built at Schramsberg Vineyards in Calistoga.

 "Through hard work, determination and knowledge, the Chinese made an incredible and lasting mark on California. Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain takes viewers to the places where the Chinese built levees, temples, stores and homes," said film producer Bill George. The Chinese came to California to find gold.

The film explores Fiddletown in Amador County to visit the largest collection of Gold Rush-era Chinese building Marysville and Oroville were two of the most important towns for Chinese in the 1850s and 1860s.

Today, the Bok Kai Temple in Marysville is still operated by the local community, and gives rare insight into the lives of the Chinese who lived and worshipped during the height of the Gold Rush. Also in Marysville is the Chinese American Museum of Northern California, run by Brian Tom. The museum is full of artifacts from the Chinese, and Mr. Tom explains how his grandfather came to Marysville in 1851,mined gold for several years, struck it rich and opened a store which stands to this day. Mr. Tom explains how the Chinese were able to work cooperatively to create wealth in America.

Bok Kai Temple
In Oroville, the documentary visits the Chinese Temple and Museum Complex, and interviews  Thill Chan Wilcox. Her family has been involved with the complex since the 1850s. Visitors today will find fascinating vestiges of Chinese life, including a replica of a store run by Chinese merchants. The museum contains huge, floor-to-ceiling tapestries, and every corner is full of rare artifacts from California and China, some left by Chinese travelling troupes that entertained Chinese and American audiences.

"The Oroville and Marysville temples are incredible places to visit," film producer George said. "My hope is that after people see the film they will head to these towns and see the wondrous works of Chinese art and culture. These sacred spots need to be supported and appreciated." The film also explores cultural, legal and political issues, as well as tensions between the Chinese and Anglo communities. Historical perspective and commentary are provided by Brian Tom and Dr. Elizabeth Sinn of Hong Kong University. Dr. Sinn's book, Pacific Crossing, detailed the rise of trade between Hong Kong and California spurred by the Gold Rush.

For more information and to order the documentary, Chinese Builders of Gold Mountain, go to website...http://www.transcoshow.com/

The film was produced by Nimbus Films of Granite Bay, California.

Photo from Bok Kai Festival
The film was written and produced by Bill George. Principal photography was from Brendan Compton of BA Productions in Auburn, California. The film is sponsored by ACC Community services. About Nimbus Films Nimbus Films produces, distributes and markets historical documentary films, focusing on California historical topics. Previous films include "The Hidden Wonder of the World, the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento to Donner Summit," which visited the remaining tunnels and construction sites of the original railroad built across the Sierra Nevada. That film won an

Award of Excellence from the Sacramento County Historical Society, and an award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for documentary film making. The company's films are designed to bring history to life by visiting historic sites and showing viewers where history happened.  


About ACC

ACC Senior Services (formerly known as The Asian Community Center of Sacramento Valley) is dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors and caregivers. ACC promotes the general welfare and enhances the quality of life of the community by offering specially designed, culturally sensitive services, programs and classes for older adults.

About Bill George

Bill George has more than 35 years' experience in journalism and filmmaking. He produced dozens of broadcast news reports, special reports and documentaries. His reports have aired on CNN, ESPN, NBC and other networks. He is the author of the book "Rails, Tales and Trails" about the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. Bill has spoken and shown his films to numerous historical, civic and educational groups. To request Bill as a speaker, please send an email to BillG@transcoshow.com 

(Article and photos copyright Nimbus Films)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Caverns of Georgetown Texas / Visit Inner Space Caverns

Located just north of Austin, Texas in the city of Georgetown is one of the most interesting and best preserved caverns found in the entire state. Inner Space Caverns is a must stop when traveling through central Texas. Several miles of the cavern has been explored but there are thought to be many other areas inaccessible due to blocked tunnels.

Discovered by a Highway Construction Crew

Inner Space Caverns was discovered in 1963 when construction was underway for what today is Interstate 35. Construction crews were boring test holes through limestone in the ground when their drills were going much deeper than normal and then became stuck. They then drilled a hole two feet in diameter nearby and lowered a man down through it. The man was lowered to a room that is now called Discovery Cave and the discovery was official. News of this fantastic discovery spread fast.

Within the next few months, the Texas Speleological Society had received permission to explore the rooms and all the reaches of the newly discovered cave.  This included everything from large rooms to narrow tunnels.

The Forming of the Cavern

Geologists attribute formation of the cave to the action of underwater currents when the Permian Sea covered the area. The caverns are estimated to be up to 100 million years old but only open to the surface since about 40 thousand years ago. This was determined by certain mammoth and saber tooth cat bones discovered there. The natural entrances to the caverns were closed about 14,000 years ago.

Inner Space Caverns is a living cave. This means that the formations continue to develop. It is estimated that ninety-five percent of the cave is still active.

One very interesting rock that guides point out during various parts of the tour is named "bacon". The rock amazingly resembles a strip of bacon. You'll also see tiny bats that generally cling or hang from the rock ceiling in certain parts of the cave. The caverns are also one of the few where prehistoric remains were found.

Touring Inner Space Caverns

Inner Space Caverns was opened to the public in 1966, just three years after it's discovery. There are several different tours conducted at Inner Space Caverns. The Adventure Tour departs approximately every thirty minutes and does not require reservations. The tour itself lasts about one hour and fifteen minutes. A guide will lead the group through well lit pathways and explain the spectacular formations they'll pass. Many of the formations have names. It's amazing how beautiful these caverns are and makes one wonder how many others may still be undiscovered.

We found the tour of the cavern to be very educational and the guides were knowledgeable and helpful.

The year round temperature inside the caverns is 72 degrees which make the caverns a great place to visit on a hot summer day. It's highly recommended that tourists wear rubber soled shoes since you'll be walking on rock surfaces. Food, drink, candy, gum, backpacks, wheelchairs, strollers, and tripods are not allowed within the cave.



Inner Space Caverns could be one of the most easy to reach in Texas. The caverns entrance is just on the west side of Interstate 35 in Georgetown, Texas. The caverns themselves actually run under the Interstate highway.

See these additional Western Trips articles on the links below...

Longhorn Caverns of Texas

The Historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX

Visit Historic San Marcos Texas

Directions to Inner Space Caverns

From either the north or the south, Inner Space Caverns can be reached via Interstate 35. If you're coming from Waco to the north, drive south on I-35 to exit 259 toward Texas 26 Spur/ Southeast Inner Loop. The caverns parking lot and building is on the right.

Driving from the Austin to the south, take I-35 north to exit 259 toward SE Inner Loop Dr. Turn left on SE Inner Loop Dr and cross under the Interstate. The parking lot and building will be on the right. 

The address of Inner Space Caverns is 4200 S Interstate 35, Georgetown, TX

Texas is fortunate in having some of the country's most interesting "show" caves. There are also thousands of "wild" caves throughout the state which offers many diverse geologic regions.

There are many great trip stops and historic places to explore in Texas. Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, just north of Austin, is definitely one of these.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Western Trips)
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf
The caverns reveal a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and the remains of mastodons and wolves. The year round temperature in the cavern is a delightful 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 98%. - See more at: http://texasbrazostrail.com/plan-your-adventure/historic-sites-and-cities/sites/inner-space-caverns#sthash.MvP84Mor.dpuf