Question: I would like to know what year the Chinese bunkhouse was demolished (by fire?)? Does the Museum have any photos of the bunkhouse? I don’t remember seeing any when I visited recently. Nice blog.
Answer: So you remember the Chinese bunkhouse sometime in the period of 1950-1971. That’s great! It’ll help us cross off the fifties in our search.
We’ve been trying to dig up information on the Chinese bunkhouse for months and unfortunately, we’re still no closer to an answer.
Most of our info is from oral history interviews and a few artefacts; as this museum, like so many others, started out with the efforts of well-meaning volunteers, a lot of our information has not been properly documented. Other information is all anecdotes in books or letters, with no names or dates.
We do have an intern making a database of our newspaper holdings, working her way back from 1983. Hopefully we’ll dig up something on the fire in the early newspapers.
We don’t have photos of the Chinese bunkhouse, nor of the second one. We do have some information as to why there were two bunkhouses: according to A Cedar Saga by W. Guy Flavelle, the Flavelle Mill workers belonged to one of two “tongs,” requiring two bunkhouses. One was the bunkhouse just off Murray Street near the Museum’s present-day location and the other was closer to the centre of town, off of Clarke and Queen Streets, near a Chinese laundry and a Chinese boarding house.
Thank you very much for reading our blog.
The Museum Assistant