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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
John Day in Grant County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Welcome to Kam Wah Chung

 
 
Welcome to Kam Wah Chung Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann, August 19, 2017
1. Welcome to Kam Wah Chung Marker
Inscription.
Wlcome to Kam Wah Chung
In 1890 you would be standing in the middle of a bustling Chinatown.Businesses and homes all around you, the temple in front, and Kam Wah Chung- the core of the community- would be to your left. Why is it the only building remaining? Why did Doc Hay and Lung On stay when the rest of the community left? Come and let us tell you the story!

The Golden Flower of Prosperity
Imagine journeying to a distant, strange land where you are a minority; you don't speak the language, and hostility is common. That was reality for Chinese immigrants to Oregon in the 1800s. To those who reached John Day, Kam Wah Chung---the Golden Flower of Posterity---was a lifeline, linking them to loved ones and to the lives they once lived.

The Golden Mountain Beckons
Would You Leave Home?
No food, no work and little hope in war-torn China. Across the Pacific, the Golden Mountain (California) beckons. The catch? Perhaps never again seeing your wife, children or home.

The Way to John Day
In the late 1800s, massive hydraulic mining operations based in nearby Canyon City needed cheap labor. Word spread and the Chinese came by the thousands. By 1885, almost everyone in Canyon City employed a Chinese laborer. When their
The Golden Flower of Posperity image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann, August 19, 2017
2. The Golden Flower of Posperity
Second marker in the series
homes and businesses burned later that year, many Chinese moved to the thriving Chinatown, centered at Kam Wah Chung.

Pulses, Plants & Persistence
Around the turn of the 20th century, the gold played out and the once bustling Chinese community melted away. But by now Doc Hay and Lung On---"Leon" as he was known to the townspeople---were valued members of the community, so they stayed on, and Kam Wah Chung and Co. persisted.
 
Erected by Oregon State Parks.
 
Location. 44° 25.133′ N, 118° 57.342′ W. Marker is in John Day, Oregon, in Grant County. Marker is on NW Canton Street when traveling north. Touch for map. The markers are located in the parking area at the end of Canton Street right in front of the historic Kam Wah Chung building. Marker is in this post office area: John Day OR 97845, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Day/Canyon City (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Adventist Christian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); As told by an old timer (approx. 2 miles away); Welcome To Canyon City
The Golden Mountain Beckons image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann, August 19, 2017
3. The Golden Mountain Beckons
Third in series of markers
(approx. 2.1 miles away); Canyon City Mural (approx. 2.1 miles away); St Thomas Episcopal Church (approx. 2.1 miles away); Welcome to Magone Lake (approx. 9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in John Day.
 
More about this marker. There are four markers at this location telling the story of Kam Wah Chung and the John Day Chinatown.
 
Regarding Welcome to Kam Wah Chung. If visiting during open season be sure to stop at the visitor center to go through their exhibits and get a ticket for the free tour inside the building.
 
Categories. Asian AmericansIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Pulses, Plants & Persistence image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann, August 17, 2017
4. Pulses, Plants & Persistence
Fourth in the series of markers
The Welcome to Kam Wah Chung Series of Markers image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann, August 19, 2017
5. The Welcome to Kam Wah Chung Series of Markers
Overview of markers from the parking lot at the end of Canton Street
The Kam Wah Chung Building image. Click for full size.
By Don Hann
6. The Kam Wah Chung Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 25, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 20, 2017, by Don Hann of Canyon City, Oregon. This page has been viewed 63 times since then. Last updated on August 25, 2017, by Don Hann of Canyon City, Oregon. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 20, 2017, by Don Hann of Canyon City, Oregon. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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