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A national honor for Hanford’s China Alley Preservation Society recognizes efforts to save site

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Courtesy: Arianne Wing
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Taoist Temple Museum after the fire. Courtesy: Evelyn Hang Yin

After a nationwide search, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently gave Hanford’s China Alley Preservation Society one of its most prestigious awards. The Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship recognizes the all-volunteer group for its efforts to preserve the story and history of China Alley. The half-block street in downtown Hanford has 11 historic buildings that trace the roots of Chinese immigrants in the 1800’s.

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Courtesy: Evelyn Hang Yin

“I think people, a lot of people don't know what a little jewel we have in Hanford,” says Arianne Wing, president of the China Alley Preservation Society

She says the award came as a surprise, especially as the group is still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating arson at its main attraction, the Taoist Temple Museum.

The fire in May destroyed and damaged artifacts and left the building in need of major repairs. Wing says it was news of the fire that caught the attention of the national trust. She hopes it will bring more awareness to China Alley, which was previously listed as one of the most endangered historic places in 2011.

“Hopefully with this recognition, instead of being endangered, we can be listed as saved,” she says.

 

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Courtesy: Evelyn Hang Yin

Wing says an arrest was made in connection to the fire. The cost to renovate the building and restore the artifacts is around $1.5 to $2 million. 

 

Soreath Hok is a multimedia journalist with 16 years of experience in radio, television and digital production. At KVPR she covers local government, politics and other local news.