Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum
This 140-year-old structure provides an unparalleled glimpse into the life and culture of the early Chinese community in Oregon. Constructed in 1876 as a trading post, the building evolved over the years to become the social, medical, and religious center for the Chinese community in eastern Oregon. Housed in the original building, the Museum contains a vast collection of artifacts, including business and financial records, supplies, and ancient Chinese herbs and medicines, some dating back to the 1800s.
Oregon State Parks Foundation successfully led the campaign to raise over $1.5 million to help preserve and restore this critical site. The fundraising drive, chaired by Oregon First Lady Mary Oberst, received contributions from 377 individuals, businesses, foundations, and agencies totaling $1,504,816, bringing the campaign to a successful completion three years ahead of schedule.
“The Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum tells an important story—about the Chinese in Oregon and about Doc Hay and Lung On, the men who lived there,” Oberst said, “Thanks to the many contributors to this fundraising effort, we now have the resources to preserve that story, and to delve even deeper into the artifacts and documents at the museum to learn more.”
The Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum project is a united victory for the four lead partners: the city of John Day, the local Friends of Kam Wah Chung, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and Oregon State Parks Foundation.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department owns and operates Kam Wah Chung as a State Heritage Site and park. The Kam Wah Chung & Co. building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark designation.
“Kam Wah Chung is a park for today and the future,” said OPRD Director Tim Wood. “The Trust’s successful fundraising shows us how local pride in an important landmark can attract statewide — and nationwide — support.”