Kam Wah Chung Museum, John Day, Oregon
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Grant County, Oregon, is a land of scenic contrasts - from dramatic geologic formations in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, sagebrush and juniper dotting the slopes, grassy valleys, pine forests, mountain peaks to the many streams, rivers, lakes and hot springs in the area.

Natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities are abundant in Grant County year 'round. Thousands of acres of public land offer backpacking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, or scenic driving. Campgrounds abound, with a wide range of facilities. All or part of three wilderness areas are located in Grant County. Maps are available at Forest Service offices in John Day, Prairie City and Dale.

Grant County has been described as "Gold and Cattle Country", and this description aptly captures the history of the region. Gold was discovered in Canyon Creek in 1862, and during the following gold rush, over $26 million in gold was mined in the John Day-Canyon City area. The hundreds of Chinese who came to work in the mines during this time added a unique flavor to the area's history. The Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum in John Day recognizes their contribution to Oregon's heritage. The museum has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

In many areas you may find the remnants of mines, cabins or communities which stand as mute evidence of the gold rush. Sketch, take pictures, or let your imagination run wild, but please do not disturb such sites. Leave them as you found them, so that the next visitor can enjoy them.

The Grant County Historic Museum in Canyon City contains relics from the early days of Grant County, several extensive rock collections, Indian artifacts, and Chinese items. The historic Joaquin Miller cabin and Greenhorn Jail are located next to the museum building, which is open June 1 - September 30. Also in Canyon City, the Ox Bow Trading Co. and Museum features exhibits of horse drawn vehicles. The museum building, formerly a dance hall, has many carriages, wagons, buggies, sleighs, and victorias as well as displays of 19th century Old West household and horse related trade goods.

The DeWitt Museum, located in Depot Park, Prairie City, includes ten rooms of pioneer memorabilia from Grant County's early days. The museum is housed in an old-time railroad depot that was built in 1910 at the end of the line for the Sumpter Valley Narrow Gauge Railroad. There are many historic items relating to Grant County history on display.


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    Evidence of the past in Grant County goes much further back than the historic record. The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument offers a look back through time, to the Age of Mammals, the period between the extinction of the dinosaurs and the beginning of the Ice Age. See scientists at work preparing fossils, view exhibits, or hike the many trails in the various units of the National Monument.

    The John Day Basin contains great numbers of well-preserved fossils of remarkable diversity, spanning over 40 million years of "The Age of Mammals" - a wonderful place to study evolutionary change. The fossilized bones, shells, leaves, wood, teeth, tracks, nuts and seeds provide a fascinating panorama of the Age of Mammals. For more information contact: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (541)987-2333.


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  • Area Map - John Day, Grant County
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