Chinese Association Museum

 

 

From 1916, this building was the home of The Jan Ying Benevolent Association. The organization’s headquarter is in San Francisco. The building is easily recognized by its neat appearance and gold-tan front, with five Chinese characters shining in gold paint on the sign above the entry door. This is the brightest, well-kept building on either side of the street. A door at the side leads to the stairway and original upstairs rooms of living.

                               

For 70 years-plus this has been the social center and informal headquarters for the men from the Zhongshen district of China. The men could go to Jan Ying to converse in a dialect familiar to them. The field workers received mail here, and help in writing when they needed it. They read the Chinese newspapers, played friendly games of chess and dominoes and fan-tan; enjoyed tea and sweets, at times played Chinese musical instruments, and generally relaxed or killed time between jobs. Messages could be left here; friends located, and labor contracted for. The interior is well maintained and used daily by the local residents.

In 1990, the San Francisco head office decided to close down this branch when the town’s Chinese population decreases in a rapid pace.

In May, 2011, this building is open to the public once again as a museum.