Not really Bill's thing, he is a trooper going with me to both the small interpretive center and the site itself. It is just the two (and Tessa) of us for the 11 AM tour and our guide, Haley, is knowledgeable and personable.
Sad and inspiring, the story of this place is like much of the history of our treatment of immigrants. In this case it is that of the Chinese who came here to work the gold mines. The inspiration comes from the two men, a doctor and a businessman who built a safe haven for the Chinese community just outside the limits of John Day.
Within the small building was an apothecary, a doctor's "office", a general store, several altars, boarding house, and the home of two incredible Chinese men who lived and worked there for over 30 years. They never returned to the wives and children they left behind in China.
What makes the place so incredible is the preservation of everything found when the building was reopened in the 1960's. Nothing has been added, nor taken away. The unopened boxes of herbs, the jar of peanut butter, the fork left on the wall - all are today as they were when the door was closed back then.
|Herbs and animal parts as they were found|
|25 cents got a man a safe place to sleep, a meal, and usually a card game - 16 slept on these four bunks|
|The small kitchen fed up to 25 men each night|
|All was preserved as found,|
|including the two snakes in a jar|