Monday, October 18, 2021
The National Parks have been trying to expand the reach of their resources to invite more cultures. One initiative that may help is the creation of a new exhibit at Yosemite. The cornerstone of the exhibit is a restoration of a Chinese laundry. The building is dedicated to telling the story of Chinese immigrant workers in Yosemite National Park using text and photos on the walls. Parts of the history that will be highlighted are workers who built major roads, including Tioga Road, north of Yosemite Valley; the contributions of Tie Sing, a cook, to the establishment of Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service; the history of Ah You, who served as head chef of the Wawona Hotel in California for 47 years; and the contributions of Chinese who worked in Yosemite’s hotels.
Sabrina Diaz, who was chief of interpretation and education at Yosemite National Park and initiated the idea of restoring the building (after learning that it was being used for storage), explained to NBC News it is the last remaining laundry building from Yosemite’s early days.
Yenyen Chan, a Yosemite Park ranger who has conducted extensive research on the history of Chinese in Yosemit, told NBC Asian America in 2018 that Sing played an important role in cooking meals for a two-week wilderness expedition in 1915 that was intended to convince business and cultural leaders of the importance of a national park system.
A more extensive description of the exhibit and a video about its recreation appear on the NPS website.