Yee Lee Laundry

Author unknown pg 61 More Big Hill Country

One of the businesses usually established in a pioneer village, that served a very real need, especially to the single men of the area, was a laundry. It was almost always run by a Chinese man. Cochrane’s laundryman, Yee Lee, lived and worked in a log shack set well back from the main street on the present site of Graham’s Building. Behind his house were several clotheslines which were nearly always filled with sparkling clean washing. In later years, Yee Lee owned a washing machine, but for most of the 30 years he was in business he scrubbed the clothes by hand. He toiled long hours everyday washing, ironing and folding clothes for his customers. Many a bachelor went to a dance in a white shirt carefully laundered by Yee Lee earlier that day! 

After the Second World War, Yee Lee returned to China for a visit. When he came back to Cochrane, he found the rapid changes in the 1950s had even caught up with the laundry business and there was no more work for him. He moved to Calgary in 1956, where he passed away about four years later. 

The ads are scans of copies of The Cochrane Advocate from 1913. Our histories make no mention of the restaurant. It seems we have more research to do.

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