Umatilla and Union County

Ching Ming, burner, paper money

Umatilla County

Chinese Ceremonial Furnace, Umatilla County.
Pendleton Chinese Ceremonial Furnace is within Olney Cemetery, 865 Tutuilla Road, City of Pendleton. The ceremonial furnace is surrounded by contemporary grave markers bearing Chinese names. The furnace is used to burn paper offerings as a way to help the deceased in the afterlife. The burning occurs during the April Ching Ming ceremony, a time when the grave sites are cleaned, and offerings made.  Reference: “Chinese Performed Memorial Rites at Olney Cemetery” 1992: 3-5; McDannold 2000: 82.

Chinese House/Oregon Railroad & Navigation Museum. Umatilla County.
Chinese House/Oregon Railroad & Navigation Museum is located at the corner of Bonanza Street and Bridge Street in the community of Echo. Chinese House was initially a bunkhouse for Chinese railroad workers. Dating to 1880, it was the first one constructed with the so-called White House being built second. The White House was the residential unit for non-Chinese workers. The museum, celebrating the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, today’s Union Pacific Railroad, is housed in Chinese House. Reference: City of Echo 2002: 95.

Echo Chinese Laundries. Umatilla County.
The City of Echo continued to have at least two Chinese laundries by 1910. The first was located in a shed behind today’s Liesegang House at 10 N. Dupont Street, the Liesegang House itself not being built until 1917. The second laundry was behind the Hotel Echo. Reference: City of Echo 2002: 15, 93.

Echo Chinese Restaurant. Umatilla County.
Nib Ying operated a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor of the Hotel Echo, City of Pendleton, in 1915. He advertised “Chinese Noodles and Chop Suey. Fresh Bread for Sale Also.” The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1925. Reference: City of Echo 2002: 93.

Hop Sing’s.  Umatilla County.
Hop Sing’s, located in the City of Pendleton, was a laundry offering hot baths to Euro Americans and Chinese alike. It was located in the systems of tunnels beneath the city. See Tours, "Pendleton Underground Tours," Umatilla County. Reference: Millwright 2004: 14.

Pendleton Chinatown. Umatilla County.
Pendleton Chinatown was in the area of SW 1st Street and Emigrant Avenue in Pendleton. It offered housing as well as laundries, barbershop, restaurants, grocery store, drug store and various retail shops.  It is currently part of the Pendleton Historic District that is on the National Registry of Historic Places. See Tours, "Pendleton Underground," Umatilla County. Reference: “Chinese in Umatilla County”; Tidswell 1992: 10.

Pendleton Underground. Umatilla County.
Dug by the Chinese, the tunnels were initially a series of delivery passageways joining one business with another in downtown Pendleton. Eventually, the passages were connected, forming a network extending from the train station to the river.  The tunnels became the sleeping quarters for Chinese as well as housing various businesses. See Hop Sing’s, Umatilla County. Reference: Millwright 2004: 14.


“Chinese in Umatilla County.” Accessed October 5, 2010.
“Chinese Perform Memorial Rites at Olney Cemetery.” 1992. Pioneer Trails. Umatilla County Historical Society, Summer: 3-5.

City of Echo. 2002. Echo’s Cultural Inventory. Accessed September 20, 2010.

Millwright the, Jake. 2004. “Pendleton-Elephant Rock and the Chinese Underground.” The Sagebrush News, May 23: 1, 14.

McDannold, Thomas A. 2000. California’s Chinese Heritage: A Legacy of Places. Stockton, California, Heritage West Books.

Tidswell, David. 1992. “Early Pendleton Was Site for Chinese Community.” Pioneer Trails. Umatilla County Historical Society, Summer: 6-16.

Union County

Camp Carson Ditch.
The Camp Carson Ditch ran from Anthony Creek to the Grande Ronde watershed. It provided water for placer mining in the area, to include Tanner Gulch. It was constructed by Chinese laborers in 1873. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Anthony Lakes, Oregon, 1984; Wegars 1995: 51-52; Meade 2006: 119.

Camp Carson Placer Mine.
Mining started at the Camp Carson mine in Tanner Gulch in the early 1860's. It became a hydraulic mine operation with the Chinese working the placer deposits. Reference: Steeves 1984: 110; U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Limber Jim Creek, Oregon, 1984.

China Cap Creek.
The headwater of China Cap Creek is on the northwest side of China Cap Summit. It flows northward for about five miles where it joins the Minam River. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, China Cap, Oregon, 1992.

China Cap Summit.
Located at the southern tip of China Cap Ridge, the summit is 8656 feet. The name is thought to have been derived from the peak’s shape that resembles the shape of a peasant hat worn by the Chinese in the 1800's. See China Cap Ridge, Union County. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, China Cap, Oregon, 1992; McArthur and McArthur 2003: 198.

China Cap Ridge.
China Cap Ridge extends northeastward from China Cap. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, China Cap, Oregon, 1992.

China Diggings.
China Diggings was located on the west side of Wolf Creek. It was the site of Chinese placer gold mining. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Tucker Flat, Oregon, 1980; Walker 1973.

 Grande Ronde Lake Dams.
The dams at Grande Ronde Lake were constructed by Chinese laborers. Built across the outlet of the lake, they provided water for mining. Reference: Steeves 1984: 108-109.

La Grande Chinatown.
La Grande Chinatown was located in the block north of Adams Avenue on Court Street in the town of La Grande. It had an herb doctor, laundries, and restaurants. Anti-Chinese activity resulted in a mob burning and plundering the Chinatown on September 24, 1893. The Chinese were forced into a temporary camp and quickly placed on a train leaving La Grande. By 1898-99, the Chinese were brought back to work in local sugar beet fields; thereby reviving Chinatown. There were still two Chinese businesses in Chinatown by 1946. PhotoReference: McConnell 1979; Wegars 1995: 11, 27-28.

 La Grande Chinatown Joss House.
The Joss House in La Grande Chinatown was located in the heart of the Chinatown on Adams Avenue. Reference: Union County.

Mud Lake Dam
Constructed in 1867, the Mud Lake Dam provided water for Chinese placer mining at Camp Carson. The dam was destroyed in the same year by non-Chinese who did not want the Chinese to use the water. Reference: Steeves 1984: 110.

Shanghai School.
Shanghai School was on Lantz Lane between Conley Road and Highway 237, approximately one mile north of the community of Cove. Reference: U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Cove, Oregon, 1993.

Two Dragon Camp.
Two Dragon Camp was located near an unnamed stream that flows westward into the Grande Ronde River. As many as 100 Chinese miners worked the 2.5-acre area.  Archaeological evidence indicates that it was a settlement, constructed between 1870 and 1890 and was occupied for two-five years. The place name was given to the location by the anthropologist who conducted extensive work at the site and was derived from its feng shui. Reference: Wegars 1995: 51-52; 
Mead 1996: iii; Mead 2006: 262.


McArthur, Lewis A. and Lewis L. McArthur. 2003. Oregon Geographic Names. 7th ed. Portland, Oregon: The Oregon Historical Society Press.

McConnell, Gregory. 1979. “An Historical Geography of the Chinese in Oregon.” University of Oregon MA thesis.

Mead, George R. 1996. Two Dragon Camp: A Chinese Settlement in the Camp Carson Mining Area, Union County, Oregon. National Forest Service: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

_______. 2006. A History of Union County with An Appendix: The Chinese in Oregon. LaGrande, Oregon: E-Cat Worlds.

U.S.G.S. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Anthony Lakes, Oregon, 1984.

_______. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, China Cap, Oregon, 1992.

_______. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Cove, Oregon, 1993.

_______. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Limber Jim Creek, Oregon, 1984.

_______. Quadrangle, 7.5’ series, Tucker Flat, Oregon, 1980.

Union County. Oregon Genealogy and History. n.d.  “The Chinese Troubles, Union County, Oregon.” Accessed November 4, 2010.

Walker, G. W. 1973. Reconnaissance Geology of the Pendleton Quadrangle, 1:250000.

Wegars, Priscilla. 1995. The Ah Hee Diggings: Final Report of the Archaeological Investigations at OR-GR-16, the Granite, Oregon “Chinese Walls” site, 1992-1994. Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Anthropology Reports