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Living History Performance: Charles Tung, Merchant and Chinese Interpreter

  • Fort Walla Walla Museum 755 Myra Road Walla Walla, WA, 99362 United States (map)

Charles Tung, a leader of the local Chinese community, was born in San Francisco and moved to Walla Walla in 1880. Fluent in both English and Chinese, Tung often acted as a translator for many local Chinese people. His stories of life in Walla Walla as a Chinese merchant are fascinating. Walla Walla was like many communities of the United States in the late 1800s, in that it placed numerous restrictions on its Chinese population. Tung’s accounts are filled with a perspective from those difficult days.

Tung owned the Kwong Chung Sing Company, importing Chinese silk, porcelain, and tea to Walla Walla. He acted as secretary-treasurer of the Chinese operated Pacific Enterprise Corporation that built a two-story structure at Fifth and Rose Streets in 1911.

In 1930, Tung departed the United States for China to enroll his daughter in Chinese schools and did not return until 1939 because of the war in that country. While in China, he operated a bank in Canton province.

Charles Tung is portrayed by fifth generation Walla Wallan Galen Tom.

Earlier Event: August 17
Musical: 9 to 5
Later Event: August 18
Musical: 9 to 5