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Shanghai Restaurant / American Hotel 289 Washington Street

American Hotel Bar

In 1852 Susan Smith owned the Union Restaurant and the Diana Bowling Saloon located here. Bowling saloons were popular in America in the mid-19th century. In 1866 the San Francisco Examiner stated that “Ten Pins may be considered the National game of America…” Like many other buildings in Auburn it burnt down in the 1855 fire.

George Stephens bought the lot and built the American Hotel in 1856.

The Placer Herald Oct 17, 1863

The Placer Herald described it as a “three story fire proof brick, the balance are built of wood, but commodious and comfortable.”

The Placer Herald May 31, 1856

The first floor of the hotel contained the bar and dining rooms, the second floor had two parlors and sixteen rooms, and the third floor had only hotel rooms. The hotel was also the stage office for the California Stage Company.

Over the years George would lose the hotel to creditors. In 1905 another fire destroyed most of the hotel, but it was credited for saving Old Town Auburn from total destruction. All that remained were the original brick walls.

The building was soon rebuilt to became the Placer Hardware store

Placer Herald November 14, 1908

In 1919 Joe and Charlie Yue opened a new billiard hall and tobacco stand in half of the American Block building, and moved their Shanghai Restaurant from next door into the other half. The Yue family had settled in California in the 1870s, and in addition to being a partner in the Shanghai Restaurant, Charlie Yue worked as a licensed gold buyer in Auburn.

The Shanghai Restaurant remained in the building and was operated by the Yue family until 2005.