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
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.