John Day, Oregon: Chinese Healing Man

The general store and home of two Chinese men. Preserved as it was when the last one died in the 1940s. Plaque on the outside wall explains its significance.
125 NW Canton St., John Day, OR
Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site. On the west side of town. Turn north off of US 26 at the brown sign onto Canton St.
Daily 9-5, may be closed off-season. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Donations appreciated.
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Chinese Healing Man

In the town of John Day is a museum, I believe it's called Kam Wah Chung. It once was the house and business of a Chinese man, Doc Hay. He was famous throughout the region as a healer. His storefront provided healing remedies for other local Chinese and Caucasian clients. In addition to his healing arts he provided supplies and assistance to other Chinese people of the region that worked in the mining industry. His business was a gathering place and also had an opium den in the back room.

Doc Hay was respected by many in the area but there were times of fearful discrimination. When old Doc Hay died (c. 1940's), his business was locked up by his family and stood quiet for many years. In the late 60's I believe the family finally donated the building and land to the town of John Day on the condition that it be used as a museum.

It is a fascinating trip back in time. Many original medicines and products are displayed much as they were in Doc Hay's day. There are several shrines to Doc Hay's ancestors. The front door is plated in metal to deflect the occasional bullet that would be aimed at the inhabitants. Tours of the small building are given most every day during the summer months. For a taste of the old Oregon west it is a great stopover.

[Susan Stelljes, 04/13/2000]

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