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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Denver in Denver County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Hop Alley/Chinese Riot of 1880

 

—Lower Downtown Walking Tour —

 
Hop Alley/Chinese Riot of 1880 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
1. Hop Alley/Chinese Riot of 1880 Marker
Inscription. During the 1860's, the first Chinese settled in Colorado. Drawn here by the completion of the transcontinental railroad as well as by other demands for cheap manual labor. Existing amidst persecution, poverty and wretched living conditions, the Chinese worked mostly in laundries, as house servants and in the mines. The Chinese neighborhood was bounded roughly by Blake and Market, 19th and 22nd Streets, and contained about 500 Chinese. By 1880, the city had 17 known opium dens in this area, where one could "hit the pipe" or "suck the bamboo." "Hop" Alley buildings were said to be connected by tunnels and secret rooms accessible only by trap doors. Hostilities between the Chinese and other immigrants intensified as competition for jobs increased and negative publicity about opium dens filled the local press. On October 31, 1880, in John Asmussen's Saloon, located on the 1600 block of Wazee, an argument broke out between two pool-playing Chinese and some intoxicated whites. When the Chinese slipped out the back door, they were attacked and beaten, beginning Denver's first recorded race riot. About 3,000 people congregated quickly in the area, shouting "Stamp out the yellow plague!" Destruction of the Chinese ghetto ensued. Several white residents show remarkable courage protecting the Chinese: Saloonkeeper James Veatch sheltered refugees,
View of marker on building and Hop Alley to left. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
2. View of marker on building and Hop Alley to left.
as did gambler Jim Moon and Madam Lizzie Preston, whose girls armed themselves with champagne bottles and high heels to hold the mob at bay. Many were injured, and one Chinese man lost his life. Despite 150 claims totaling over $30,000, no Chinese were ever paid for property and business losses, nor did this dark day end Denver's struggles with the underlying issues of racial prejudice.
 
Erected by the Lower Downtown Historic District.
 
Location. 39° 45.237′ N, 104° 59.646′ W. Marker is in Denver, Colorado, in Denver County. Marker is at the intersection of 20th Street and Blake Street, on the right when traveling south on 20th Street. Touch for map. Marker is on the 20th Street side of 1962 Blake Street (Blake Street Sports store). Marker is at or near this postal address: 1962 Blake Street, Denver CO 80202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Red Light District Market Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Blake Street Area (within shouting distance of this marker); The House of Mirrors (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Windsor Farm Dairy Building / The Crocker Cracker Factory (about 500 feet away); Merchandise Mart (about 700 feet away); 18th St. Atrium / Littleton Creamery Beatrice Cold Storage Warehouse (approx. ¼ mile away); St. Elmo Hotel (approx. ¼ mile away); Edward W. Wynkoop (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denver.
 
Also see . . .
1. University of Nebraska - Encyclopedia of the Great Plains article on Chinese Riot. (Submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. History of Colorado article on Chinese Riot (.pdf). (Submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Notable EventsSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 231 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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