The Chinese Legacy in Boise Basin

The Chinese Legacy in Boise Basin (HM28NV)

Location: Idaho City, ID 83631 Boise County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 49.672', W 115° 50.025'

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The Pon Yam Store

—1873 - 1904 —

This building was constructed in 1865 by Elias Brown. It originally housed a newspaper office, restaurant and grocery store. It was one of several brick buildings known as "fireproofs" that were constructed after a disastrous fire swept through Idaho City that year. In addition to double-wall brick construction, the buildings have metal doors and shutters, and reinforced attic floors protected by a layer of sod. This helped keep the contents of the building from burning in the event of fire.
In 1873 the Wong Chong Company purchased the building for use as a Chinese mercantile. Pon Yam was the store's long time proprietor, and a prominent elder statesman of Idaho City's Chinese community. When he returned to China in 1904, the Idaho World newspaper commented that "for every enterprise of a public nature for which the community has been called upon for donations, Pon Yam has alway contributed liberally and cheerfully."
Boise Basin's population was diverse and international during the 1860's gold rush. By 1879, Chinese immigrants comprised nearly half the basin's population of four thousand people. Most Chinese engaged in mining. Their willingness to work claims that other miners considered exhausted helped prolong the basin's gold rush. The Pon Yam Store is the last Chinese owned and occupied building in town.
The Idaho

City Historical Foundation has preserved the building as a tribute to the contributions these immigrants made to Idaho history and the prosperity they achieved in the American West. This project has been made possible by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, Idaho State Historical Society, USDA Forest Service, Chinese-American community.
HM NumberHM28NV
Year Placed2016
Placed ByIdaho City Historical Society, City of Idaho City, and E Clampus Vitus, Snake River Chapter No. 1811
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, June 21st, 2018 at 10:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)11T E 593773 N 4853415
Decimal Degrees43.82786667, -115.83375000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 49.672', W 115° 50.025'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 49' 40.32" N, 115° 50' 1.4999999999999" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)208
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 400 Montgomery St, Idaho City ID 83631, US
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