Chew Kee Store

Fiddletown’s Chew Kee Store is unique in California, a time capsule that reflects 100 years of continuous habitation by Chinese immigrants and residents. Everything in the store is authentic, reflecting the daily life and work of its various inhabitants: herb doctor Yee Fung Cheung, who founded the store in the mid-1850s; merchant-gambler Chew Kee and wife Sigh Choy; and their adopted son “Jimmie” Chow (Fong Chow Yow) who was born and died in Fiddletown – much loved by the community and the only Chinese person buried in its public cemetery. Each resident left behind objects that tell the story of Chinese culture transplanted in emergent California.
Chinese workers using the traditional Chinese technique of rammed earth, resulting in thick mudpacked walls that cool the structure during hot summer days, constructed the building. The store served as a business and home for its residents. Besides the spacious commercial room at the front,private living space includes bedrooms, an office, and two add-on kitchens – much of the interior is built with hand-hewn wood. All furnishings and artifacts in the rooms are original.
The Chew Kee Store is open to the public as a museum operated by the Fiddletown Preservation Society, April-October, on Saturdays only from noon-4:00p.m and by appointment.