Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site
Once a general store, a doctor’s office, and a center of Chinese social and religious life, it is now one of the most unusual museums you will find anywhere. Kam Wah Chung (translates to “Golden Chinese Outpost”) & Co. is a one-of-a-kind property. Built in 1865, the building’s earliest customers were primarily Chinese residents of Canyon City and the John Day area who were attracted by work generated by eastern Oregon’s gold strikes of the period. Some chronicles suggest it served travelers as a trading post.
Its “golden” era began when immigrants Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On bought the building’s lease in 1887. It became a successful place of business, frequently visited as an herbal medical office, even a Chinese temple. To Doc Hay and Lung On, the building was a home they shared with relatives, friends and itinerants into the 1940s. The building is a memorial commemorating an important era in Oregon history and recalling the lives of two men who eventually earned their community’s respect as two of its most prominent citizens.
Truly a time capsule, thousands of objects and documents displayed within the building yields insight into a significant cultural legacy. Old tin containers and wooden boxes filled with Chinese teas, foodstuffs, tobacco and medicinal products still line the shelves. Our archive is the largest collection of primary Chinese documents in the United States.
- You are not allowed to touch anything including leaning on walls or sitting on furniture.
- No food, drinks,smoking, and no pets.
- You may take pictures, but no flash.
- Watch your head. Doorways are short.
- There is no place to sit within the building.
- Please silence cell phones.
- Not ADA Accessible! We do have alternatives at the interpretive center.
- The building is small, if you are claustrophobic we advise you to not take the tour.
- No large hand bags, backpacks, helmets, strollers, or other items larger than a purse are allowed in the building.
- Staff at the front desk can hold these items for you until your return.
- Limit 8 people per tour.
- Some exemptions apply.
- If under under 18, they must be accompanied by an adult.
- Tour starts at the top of the hour at the Interpretive Center.
- Tour lasts 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preregistration is not required, but highly recommended. Visitors that are not prescheduled can arrive and sign up for any tour slots that are open throughout the day.
- Handstamps required at front desk, so we know you are checked in.
- For groups larger than 8 people, please call and schedule. We can provide special accommodations.
- This applies to school groups, and other special groups as well.
- Please arrive at least 5 minutes before the hour.
- If you do not arrive by 5 minutes AFTER the hour, your slots are forfeited to other visitors that are waiting to go on tour.
- If you are unable to arrive for your given time slot, PLEASE call ahead.
- We can reschedule for later in the day per availability.