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2019 marks the 134th Anniversary of the Chinese Massacre

SEPTEMBER 2ND IS THE 134TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHINESE MASSACRE

chinatown

SEPTEMBER 2ND IS THE 134TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHINESE MASSACRE

August 31, 2019

(Note: The following article includes excerpts, photographs, and maps from a Sweetwater County Historical Museum piece about “Chinatown” and Camp Pilot Butte originally released in February of 2019)

Monday is Labor Day, a holiday for barbecues and outdoor activities, but it also marks the anniversary of the darkest chapter in Rock Springs history: the Chinese Massacre of September 2, 1885.

By the summer of 1885, there were just under 600 Chinese and less than half that number of white miners working in the coal mines in and around Rock Springs. Tensions were high because the Chinese miners were willing to work for lower wages, which kept overall wages down and created resentment among the white miners.

On the morning of September 2, at the Number Six mine just north of Rock Springs, a fight between white and Chinese miners resulted in the death of a Chinese worker. Later in the day, a mob of about 150 white miners attacked "Chinatown," the section of town north of Bitter Creek where the Chinese miners lived, and set it on fire. More than two dozen Chinese were killed and the rest fled. All 79 of the Chinese shacks and shanties were destroyed by the mob.

To restore order and protect the hundreds of Chinese miners soon to be returned to Rock Springs under heavy army escort, Territorial Governor (and later United States Senator) Francis E. Warren arranged for soldiers of the 7th U.S. Infantry Regiment to establish a base sited between “Chinatown” and downtown Rock Springs. A new “Chinatown”was hastily built, the miners returned to work, and, by November 30, 532 Chinese and 85 white miners were producing about 1,600 tons of coal per day.

The army’s new post was dubbed Camp Pilot Butte and continued to be garrisoned until March of 1899, when the base was closed.

The Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River features a special exhibit on the Chinese Massacre, and "The Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, September 2, 1885," by Isaac H. Bromley, an excellent work on the subject, is available at the museum bookstore.

 See more pictures and share this article with your friends on Facebook here.Follow us on Facebook for more fascinating history and stay up to date on all the Museum's events.

Sweetwater County Historical Museum Closed on Labor Day

August 29, 2019
 
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum will be closed all day on Monday, September 2nd, in observance of Labor Day.
 
By the spring of 1894, some two dozen states had individually recognized a holiday that honored the nation’s workers, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the legislation declaring Labor Day a federal holiday to be celebrated annually on the first Monday of September.
 
Labor Day, 2019, is the 125th anniversary of the holiday, but it is still uncertain who actually came up with the idea. Peter McQuire, a carpenter who was co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, is credited by many, but so is Matthew Maquire, a machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
 
The museum will return to its normal summer hours on Tuesday, September 3rd. 
 
The museum staff wishes everyone a happy and safe Labor Day!The Sweetwater County Historical Museum will be closed all day on Monday, September 2nd, in observance of Labor Day.
 
By the spring of 1894, some two dozen states had individually recognized a holiday that honored the nation’s workers, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the legislation declaring Labor Day a federal holiday to be celebrated annually on the first Monday of September.
 
Labor Day, 2019, is the 125th anniversary of the holiday, but it is still uncertain who actually came up with the idea. Peter McQuire, a carpenter who was co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, is credited by many, but so is Matthew Maquire, a machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
 
The museum will return to its normal summer hours on Tuesday, September 3rd. 
 
The museum staff wishes everyone a happy and safe Labor Day!

Upcoming Events

Celebratet the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell's  launch from Green River, Wyoming to begin his famous 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers. On May 22-34, the University of Wyoming and SCREE will also host a Saturday University with several intersting speakers about Powell and his impact. See Powell150.org for more info or our Facebook and Instagram pages. The museum will also have a very special Powell exhibit up soon, also featuring artwork from UW! Watch our social media pages for more info. 

2019 JWP May 24 2019 small

New Exhibit!

Powell exhibit poster