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usaKong Chow Temple, 冈州古庙
San Francisco, USA

usa chinatownsIn 1849, the Cantonese community in San Francisco founded the Kong Chow Temple, 冈州古庙. This was a joint project by Cantonese migrants from 5 counties (新会、鹤山、台山、恩平、开平) in Guangzhou Province, 广州, China. 

This clan temple was dedicated to Guan Di, 关帝 (also known as Guan Gong, 关公), the Chinese God of War and literature.

In 1854, the Kong Chow Temple was renamed as Kong Chow Clan Association, 冈州会馆, to reflect the social role of the institution. The Kong Chow Clan Association served religious needs and also social welfare of fellow migrants.

In 1906, the original building was destroyed during the San Francisco earthquake. The importance of this institution was reflected in community’s efforts to rebuild it.  

It is said that in 1948, Mrs. Harry Truman visited the temple to pray for Mr. Truman’s election results and asked for a prediction of 1948 election. At that time, most of the American public had expected her husband to lose the election.   

Mrs. Truman held a container with prediction sticks and shook them until one of the sticks fell on the ground. This stick was exchanged for a paper slip with a story offering clues to her answer. It was an auspicious prediction and Mr. Truman did win the elections to become the 33rd President of the United States of America.

In 1977, the temple was relocated to the Kong Chow Building in San Francisco Chinatown and has remained there since.

The clan association has initiated charity projects to serve the elderly population, offered scholarships and other charity drives. Every year they also organize prayer sessions especially during the Qing Ming Festival to remember their ancestors.

Inside the Kong Chow Temple, the sculpture of Guan Di is worshipped at the main altar flanked by his son and assistant. Many artifacts from the previous location are preserved in the temple. One of the most well known artifacts is Mrs. Truman’s prediction slip which is framed and displayed inside the temple. 

Visitors are welcomed but no photography is allowed inside the temple.

Kong Chow Temple

Address:

855 Stockton Street, Chinatown,
San Francisco, USA

Related article:

usa chinatownsUSA
Guan Gong Culture
List of Guan Gong Temples


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