Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site

History Museums
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Hours posted are for May 1 through October 31 when we are open for the season. We are closed from November 1 through April 30, except during spring break, which is usually the last full week of March. Please call ahead if you are planning a visit, we may be able to accommodate! Thank you, Oregon Parks and Recreation Staff
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
156 reviews
Excellent
129
Very good
23
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Jasmine38Chichester UK
Chichester, UK1,755 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
This is such a cool place. The way in which the place has been preserved is amazing. It still has the original store and Chinese medicine items in tact and on display, along with the living quarters and original artifacts, just as the place was left in the early 1940s.

We started our tour with a 5 min movie and Leslie, our volunteer guide provided us with some additional history before we toured the store/museum. Afterwards you can look sound the small Interpretative Centre with more info and displays. There are plans to build a larger, more modern facility for 2024.

Best to book online 48 hours before you plan to visit as there is a limit of 8 people per tour and they are usually on the hour from 9 to 4 except lunchtime. Surprisingly too, the tour is free!

A really interesting place to visit, especially as its the oldest property of its time in the whole of the US.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard R
Houston, TX29 contributions
Sep 2022
An employee at the nearby hotel where we were staying suggested we stop here on our way back home. It is part of the Oregon State Park system, and the building can only be accessed when part of the hourly tour conducted by the Park Ranger. The Ranger also doubles as the museum curator. When we entered the building it was like going back 80-years in time, as the combination general store and oriental medicine clinic has been lovingly preserved to how it was when the owners had to lock it up just after WW2. A moving story of the Chinese immigrant experience in the Pacific Northwest during and after the late 19-century gold rush. Don't think, just go !
Written October 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MargaretANurse1979
Portland, OR87 contributions
Sep 2021 • Couples
We learned a lot in a short amount of time. It was great to have the time in the center then on tour with a volunteer to the preserved home. Amazing facts about the men and Chinese immigrants.

The only concerns I share of the number of people in the tour group in an enclosed space- even all wearing masks.
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hannah F
Eugene, OR18 contributions
May 2022 • Family
This little visitor center and tour is an absolute gem! State park volunteer Bob was extremely knowledgeable about the historic site and town history. The tour is free, and the gift shop and visitor center was very welcoming. They are in process of building a large new state park visitor center. The one hour tour was so interesting. Do not miss this stop!
Written May 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

1-TDaddy
Beckley, WV22 contributions
Aug 2022
Sign up in advance for the excellent guided tour to step back in time inside the building. See artifacts in the visitor center. Be sure to read the testimonial letters about being healed. Probably not a good stop for small children.
Written September 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

patroo
Springfield, OR255 contributions
Jun 2014 • Family
The Kam Wah Chung museum is a time capsule that tells the story of Doc Hay, a Chinese herbalist physician, and Lung On (Leon), businessman, who purchased the building, then in the heart of John Day's Chinatown.

They stayed for the rest of their lives.

Unusually for Chinese nationals, they chose to be buried in Oregon, on a hill overlooking the John Day Valley, among those who had become their lifelong friends and neighbors.

The building was ultimately bequeathed to a student, Bob Wah, who left the contents intact for us to see today. Some of the boxed freight is still unopened.

Our tour guide was Mel, a most excellent speaker who brought the two men to life as I have never known them before. We had done this tour previously, escorted at high speed by an employee who was more interested in making sure that we touched nothing and were never out of her immediate sight, than in telling about the wonderful things they did.

Life was not totally idyllic. Doc Hay slept with a cleaver on his night table for protection, as he could not legally own a gun, and Chinese were considered fair game by racists and those who enjoyed harming others.

Doc Hay accepted many checks in payment for his services...$23,000 in fact. He never cashed a one of them, and today they're in the museum cultural center for us to see. He knew that the Depression was causing families to suffer, and he didn't need the money.

Lung On was adept at all manner of little services and business deals, whether it was writing a letter to China for a new arrival, lending money, selling groceries, running mail order catalog orders, boarding guests, feeding guests at the little kitchen table, or most surprisingly, becoming the first Chinese national automobile dealer! He had gone to Portland to purchase his own vehicle, and there were many who tried to buy it from him upon his return. He was even offered three times the amount he had paid for his new car. He did not sell. Instead he returned to Portland several weeks later and returned with an automobile dealership deal, and the ability to sell vehicles to everyone who wanted and could afford one. This was very unusual in a xenophobic society.

I think Mel could write a screenplay or teleplay about the story of the Chinese men who helped and worked with both Chinese and other ethnicities in Eastern Oregon. Even the white families saw that Doc Hay was successful and caring in his treatment of patients, and they appreciated Lung On's business enterprises.

Please visit. Tours start on the hour, May through October.
Written June 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

dreadpiratedb
Los Angeles, CA164 contributions
Jun 2019 • Couples
I recently visited family in John Day. We met in town for dinner and during our conversation, we discovered my relatives were completely unaware of this place! This is the #1 thing to do in John Day, yet 15 years in - they hadn't. It was nice to be able to broaden my family's horizon and spend a few hours learning some history. This place is Historical - and even while much of that history isn't exactly proud moments for we 'Mericans, it is a moment in time captured - and serves as an opportunity to reflect and learn. This is totally free of cost except for your time. If you are nearby - I recommend you take some time and visit! And since you have read this - have you "tripped" the area you call home? May want to see if you're missing an opportunity in your own "backyard". Thanks to my fellow reviewers for making this app worthy of use.
Written July 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ploumParis
paris107 contributions
Jul 2019 • Friends
Do not miss this. It’s very cool, beautiful and instructive. It’s an untouched store left as is since 1948, complete with living quarters, kitchen, shrines, and a full pharmacy of chinese medicine.
The volunteers and museum staff were great.

The small museum also has nice artifacts and is worth spending an hour to see the videos. Do not miss the short one that’s 5 minutes, the other 30 minute one is nice but can be skipped if you’re in a hurry.
Written July 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Donald L
Watsonville, CA26 contributions
Jun 2019 • Couples
Well worth the time to visit. Our tour guide had lots of anecdotes and information A very interesting look into the life and times of Chinese workers. Surprising to learn how badly they were treated, and today are highly respected.
Written July 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jane L
Seattle, WA85 contributions
Jun 2019 • Couples
This perfectly-preserved apothecary/general store is fascinating. Guided tours are given regularly (you can only visit via a tour) and give you more information than you could glean on your own. The store is a microcosm of 100 years of history and of a partnership, of Chinese immigrants, of the quirks of life, and more. Our guide was enthusiastic and informative.
Written June 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site (John Day) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM