... a unique gateway. Courtyard where Yengching people lived ...
... Crepe myrtle tree ...
... The moon gate ...
... The Hospital water tower ...
... The Hospital gate, closed and barbed wired ...
... Corner of the Hospital ...
... in the Hospital yard ...
... a little stream out of bounds ...
... bit of the wall where "black market" flourished ...
... a water tower ...
... the south end of "Main Street" ...
... a corner in the compound ...
... a bit of one of the residences (out of bounds) and the "Tingtze". ...
... entrance to residences (out of bounds) ...
... The "White Elephant" where sugar was exchanged for shoes, sheets for shirts etc.
... from Mitch and Lynda Krayton. From Mitch & Linda Krayton,
We live in the greater Los Angeles community of Santa Clarita.
Several years ago, while attending an antiquarian book fair, we came
upon the most incredible book that was the guest book of a The Camel
Book shop in Peiping (Peking, Pekin, Beijing). We purchased this tome
which is leather bound volume (apx 12"x18"x6"), corners of woven silk,
has brass hinge fittings (missing the locking pin) and encrusted with
many semi-precious stones. It was in the Grand Hotel de Pekin which was
the largest and most modern hotel in the area and served as the major
hotel for visitors of every rank and distinction.
The hotel was located inside the walled city (which have since been
removed to make the ring road) and very close the The Forbidden City and
Tienanmen Square. Also nearby was the Foreign Legation which came to be
as a result of the Boxer rebellion.
The Camel Bell (aka The Camel Bells, The Camel's Bell) was owned by Miss
Helen Burton. My wife and I are researching the life of this incredible
person and hope to put our findings into a book. The more we research,
more fantastic things we find out about the time, the place and the
people she knew. Here is a bit of what we know...
Born in 1917 in North Dakota, her father and brother both rose in state
politics. She wanted to venture off to exotic places. She wound up in
Peiping looking for secretarial work and it turns out she was a bit of
an artist and entrepreneur.
It was not long that she started her shop with candy, clothing, art and
gifts of her design that she arranged to be made by locals.
People from all over the world stopped by and signed her guest book.
Others did a lot more: drawing, painting and writing poetry. There are
photos and holiday cards, too. Hundreds of visitors are here (we are
trying to catalog them all).
She was very much the socialite and people would often stay with her in
the city or at her summer home in the hills outside the city.
She never married, but did adopt 4 Chinese girls who helped her run the
When the Japanese overtook Peiping, she was captured and wound up in
Weihsien. Which leads me to find all of you.
There she was involved with a barter site that has been called The White
Camel Bell or The White Elephant Bell. There was no money but I suspect
her entrepreneurial spirit and her fearless willingness to bargain gave
her the courage to set this up.
So to all of you who knew Miss Burton in Weihsien or the barter shop, we
would be delighted to know your stories and your impressions of her. And
if you have relics or photos of her or the shop, it would be a thrill to
see those, too.
Thank you all in advance for making our quest so real and so