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Bok Kai Temple

Bok Kai Temple

The Bok Kai Temple in Marysville was built in 1880 to serve the city’s sizable Chinese population. The temple has been in continuous use as a religious and social anchor for the local population and has minimal alterations. It retains many original materials and features, including the brick masonry wall, portions of the wood floor and roof framing, and an exterior mural at the main entrance depicting narrative, decorative, and calligraphic scenes. Unfortunately, in recent years the building began to show signs of its age, prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to include the building on its 2001 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Buildings.

ARG Conservation Services was retained by The Friends of the Bok Kai Temple for a design-build project to stabilize the building’s porch, including the exterior mural, porch roof, brickwork and heavy timber framing. The wing walls of the porch had developed significant cracks and displacement due to progressive failure of the supporting wood beams. This condition jeopardized the structural stability of significant portions of the mural. Further, the entire surface of the mural was deteriorating and required conservation treatment.

ARG Conservation Services assembled a project team consisting of a structural engineer, two mural conservators, a finish carpenter, a stonemason, and architectural conservators to undertake the project. Shoring was installed to stop the porch assembly from further settlement. Portions of the brickwork that were in a precarious condition were stabilized and emergency conservation of the mural was completed.


Porch and Mural Stabilization


The Friends of the Bok Kai Temple


Marysville, California


Finishes, Murals