The Chew Kee Store is a Chinese herbal medicine shop (now a museum) in historic Fiddletown, California.
The store was built around 1855, during California’s Gold Rush era, at a time when Fiddletown had one of the larger "Chinatowns" in the state. During its early years, the store was operated by Dr. Yee Fong Cheung, who came to America to practice medicine for Chinese miners and railroad workers. In the 1880s a man known as “Chew Kee” owned the shop, selling herbal remedies, groceries, and supplies to the Chinese community. As Fiddletown’s Chinese population dwindled, Chew Kee deeded the property in 1922 to his “adopted” son, Fong Chow Yow (also known as Jimmy Chow), and moved back to China.
Jimmy Chow lived in the back of the old store until his death in 1965, and during those decades the shop in front remained largely intact. Today the store is a museum—a treasure chest of early 20th century Chinese culture in one of the smaller towns in California’s gold country.
© Tim Messick