In Rock Springs, Chinese Lunar New Year once marked with parades - and candy


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - February 3, 2021)    

February 12, 2021 marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which was celebrated by the Chinese community in Rock Springs in the 1890s and the turn of the 20th century with parades that featured the Dragon Dance, when a huge silk dragon 140 feet long and borne by dozens of men wound its way through the streets of the town. 

In the collection of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River are photographs of the Chinese parade dragon, and among the museum’s most prized possessions are the dragon’s large glass eyes, over 125 years old, which are on display in a special exhibit about the Chinese in Sweetwater County.

Museum staff recently discovered another photograph of the place and the time:  a portrait of a man named Lee Me Him, posing proudly in front of his drug store in Rock Springs’s Chinatown, circa 1895.

Lee Me Him made many of his own medicines, using traditional Chinese recipes. Though many  of his customers lived in Chinatown, during the New Year celebrations Rock Springs children from throughout the town came to his store for Chinese candy, for them a fine treat. 

See more photos on the Museum's Facebook and Instagram.

The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Hours are 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.