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Barkerville in Cariboo, British Columbia — Canada’s West Coast (North America)
 

Chee Kung Tong Building

 
 
Chee Kung Tong Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
1. Chee Kung Tong Building Marker
Inscription.  This rare example of a 19th century Chinese benevolent society hall conformed to a Chee Kung Tong tradition that placed services to members on the ground floor and formal functions above. With its hostel, kitchen, and meeting and ceremonial spaces, this hall offered members a refuge where they could find support, work, and shelter. The benevolent services, ceremonies and celebrations, and membership rules of the Chee Kung Tong fostered a sense of belonging in many Chinese and helped promote interpersonal and business relationships in early Canadian Chinatowns.

L’Édifice Chee Kung Tong

Ce rare exemple d’édifice Chee Kung Tong du XIXe siécle se conformait à une tradition de cette société de bienfaisance chinoise, le rez-de-chaussee logeant les services aux membres et l’étage, les fonctions officielles. Dortoir, cuisine, salles de rencontre et de culte devenaient un refuge où trouver soutien, travail et abri. Les règles d’adhésion, les services charitables, les cérémonies et les célébrations de la société favorisèrent l’essor d’un sentiment d’appartenance chez de nombreux immigrants chinois et la pormotion des relations
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personnelles et commerciales au sein des premiers quartiers chinois du Canada.
 
Erected 2008 by Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansFraternal or Sororal Organizations.
 
Location. 53° 3.92′ N, 121° 31.12′ W. Marker is in Barkerville, British Columbia, in Cariboo. Marker is on Barkerville Highway (Provincial Highway 26) one kilometer south of Reduction Road, on the left when traveling south. This marker is located in Barkerville Provincial Park, site #69 on the Barkerville interpretive map. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Barkerville BC V0K 1B0, Canada. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cornish Wheel & Pump (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Cariboo Gold Fields (approx. half a kilometer away); Richfield Courthouse (approx. 1.4 kilometers away).
 
Regarding Chee Kung Tong Building. In 1858 the Cariboo Gold Rush began in British Columbia. The town of Barkerville was not founded until 1862 when Billy Baker and his partners discovered gold in the area. Today Barkerville's surviving buildings have been renovated (several more have been duplicated based on historical
Chee Kung Tong Building, marker to the right image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
2. Chee Kung Tong Building, marker to the right
evidence) and turned into a living history museum.

"In 2008, [the Chee Kung Tong] building was designated as a Canadian National Historic Site in recognition of its cultural significance to the Chinese.

...The word tong usually means meeting place in Chinese but can also mean association, ancestors' hall, herbal store and clan association. Five types of social groups, through which the Chinese created associations have been identified. The Chee Kung Tong (Hongmen Society) was of the type based on national organizations, whose members originated from all regions and ethnic groups of China. It was both a political group and a social organization.

...The Chee Kung Tong, also known as the Chinese Free Masons, operated this building as there hostel and meeting room from at least 1874 to 1949. Members lived here at no cost, provided they did their share of wood cutting and other chores. Newly arrive Chinese could also bunk here until they found other accommodation. Men who were sick or who had no other place to stay could rely on this hostel as well, especially during the winter months."
Source: The Traveler's Site Guide to Barkerville Historic Town
 
Also see . . .  Barkerville - British Columbia's Gold Rush Town. Barkerville Heritage Trust (Submitted on May 20, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
3. Chee Kung Tong Building
 
 
Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
4. Chee Kung Tong Building
Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 20, 2010
5. Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building
Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 20, 2010
6. Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building
Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
7. Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building
Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
8. Interior of the Chee Kung Tong Building
Barkerville Chinatown image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 19, 2010
9. Barkerville Chinatown
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 18, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 1,208 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 18, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 24, 2024