Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site
Kam Wah Chung Museum (Grant County, Oregon scenic images) (graDA0089).jpg
Kam Wah Chung building
Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum is located in Oregon
Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum
Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum is located in the United States
Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum
TypePublic, state
LocationGrant County, Oregon
Nearest cityJohn Day
Coordinates44°25′07″N 118°57′25″W / 44.418688°N 118.956922°W / 44.418688; -118.956922Coordinates: 44°25′07″N 118°57′25″W / 44.418688°N 118.956922°W / 44.418688; -118.956922
Area0.42 acres (0.17 ha)[1]
Operated byOregon Parks and Recreation Department
Kam Wah Chung Company Building
NRHP reference No.73001575
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMarch 20, 1973
Designated NHLSeptember 20, 2005[2]
Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site
Literal meaningKam Wah Chung Pharmacy Historic Site

The Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum, also known as Kam Wah Chung Company Building, is a state park and a National Historic Landmark that preserves early Chinese culture in John Day in the U.S. state of Oregon.[2] Built in the 1870s, possibly as a trading post,[3] it is the best-preserved example of a Chinese herbal apothecary and mercantile establishment dating to the post-Civil War period of growth in the Western United States.[4]


The Kam Wah Chung (Chinese: 金華昌; Jyutping: gam1 waa4 coeng1)[5] Company Building was built along a wagon road later known as The Dalles Military Road, possibly as a trading post serving placer mining operations on Canyon Creek. By 1878, it was under lease to the Kam Wah Chung Company, which was purchased in 1887 by the partnership of Ing Hay (known also as "Doc Hay") (Chinese: 伍于念; Jyutping: ng5 jyu1 nim6)[5][6] and Lung On (Chinese: 梁光榮; Jyutping: loeng4 gwong1 wing4),[5] Chinese immigrants from Canton.[4]

The building remained abandoned after Ing Hay died in 1952. He asked that the building be deeded to the city of John Day with the provision it be turned into a museum. His wish, and the ownership of the building, were forgotten until 1967. While surveying for a new park the city discovered its ownership of the building and began to restore it as it was in the 1940s. The city also has custody of many of the company's records and personal documents relating to the proprietors.[4]

Currently[when?] the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum contains one of the most extensive collections of materials from the century-long influx of Chinese immigrants in the American West. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 2005.[2][4]

The museum received particular attention from Oregon First Lady Mary Oberst, wife of Governor Ted Kulongoski, who helped raise $1.5 million in private funds to renovate the building into a state park.[7] The renovation began in November 2006 and was re-opened in August 2007. The renovated museum's grand re-opening was celebrated on May 3, 2008.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bannan, Jan (2002). Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide (2nd ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 219–20. ISBN 0-89886-794-0.
  2. ^ a b c "Kam Wah Chung Company Building". National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service. Archived from the original (Statement of Significance) on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  3. ^ "Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site". oregonstateparks.org. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Donovan, Sally; Griffith, Sarah (September 2005), National Historic Landmark Nomination: Kam Wah Chung Company Building (PDF), National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service, retrieved July 1, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c "多城蜜語-金華昌博物館 - 《旺來報》".
  6. ^ "HGZZ.net".
  7. ^ Britton, Lisa (March 11, 2005). "Kam Wah Chung & Co". Baker City Herald. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Merriman, Ed (April 28, 2008). "Kam Wah Chung museum re-opening". Baker City Herald. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Carpenter, Angel (June 12, 2018). "Celebration dinner marks 140 years of Kam Wah Chung". Blue Mountain Eagle. John Day, Oregon. Retrieved June 18, 2018.

External links[edit]