Anti-Chinese vandalism in Baker, Oregon- 1956

This next story just breaks my heart. Seventy years of veneration, smashed up in an instant by vandals in Baker, Oregon.

All work courtesy Oregon Historical SocietyOHS photo file # 238-A,“Chinese in Oregon”

This reproduction is entirely non-commercial.

Baker City has a long history of Chinese-American settlement, with a population of nearly 10% of the community in 1870.

An essential element of cultural life was the “joss house,” or temple (highlighted in the below image, courtesy of the Oregon Encyclopedia)


The statue is of Guan Yu.

“Kwon Gong, hardwood, from China in 1884 by Baker’s Chinese, for Joss house in Auburn Ave. Statue destroyed by vandals, 1956”
Baker Photo Collection

The perpetrators of the vandalism? Eleven children in the sixth and seventh grade who apparently ransacked the temple (described as an “old Chinese museum”), stealing items and then desecrating the statue of Guān Gōng.

Their punishment was notably lax.

Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon
21 Feb 1956, Tue. Page 4
The embedded bias’ in this little article are truly remarkable.

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