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Lecture Series - Chinese Tunnels: Myth or Reality?

  • Canyon City Community Center 123 Washington Street Canyon City, OR, 97820 United States (map)

Today, many communities in the American West, where Chinese people once lived, are rumored to have so-called “Chinese tunnels” under downtown buildings and streets. One such place is Pendleton, Oregon. Can “Chinese tunnels” be substantiated, whether through documentary research, oral histories, or other sources? If so, where do they exist, how were they used, and what is the proof of their existence? If not, are they myths with some basis in fact, such as basements that were subdivided or partitioned into smaller areas for use as businesses, living quarters, or opium-smoking establishments? Or, are they stereotypes like others such as “Chinese ovens” and “Chinese walls,” wherein anything unexplainable, i.e., “mysterious,” is attributed to the Chinese? Join Dr. Priscilla Wegars from the Asian American Comparative Collection to investigate these questions, with the aim of providing a definitive answer to the question, “’Chinese Tunnels’: Myth or Reality?”

Registration is not required for this event or any of the other lectures in this series. We encourage you to arrive early to reserve a spot. For more information about this event, please contact Genevieve Perdue at or 541-620-5754.