Lost Butte, Montana, a book by Richard I. Gibson, is in stores and museum gift shops around Butte. Or order from the publisher. It's also in E-book formats at all the usual places. And read an interview with Gibson, here, and on KXLF here. The Facebook page has many historic photos of Butte, and the Butte-Anaconda NHLD project showcases many historic buildings. Location-oriented posts can be found on HistoryPin. On Mondays beginning in January 2016, look for Gibson's "Mining City History" column in the Montana Standard.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

At the Mission

By Richard I. Gibson

In honor of Chinese New Year, today's post is about Chinatown. Don't miss the Parade, starting at 3:00 Saturday Feb. 4, at the Court House. It's audience participation, with a reception and firecrackers at the end at the Mai Wah Museum.

Click to enlarge
The Butte Chinese Baptist Mission stood at 24 West Mercury from about 1900 until about 1946.

The 1919 photo here of a group inside the Mission, from the Mai Wah collection and used by permission, was donated by Dr. James Chung of Los Angeles. It is part of a collection of photos related to Dr. Wah J. Lamb, one of seven Chinese physicians practicing in Butte in 1918. Lamb’s office then was at 116 E. Mercury, and he and his family lived at 1107 S. Wyoming; by 1928 he was at 46 E. Galena and by 1940 he was retired and living in Los Angeles. The photo includes several of his children: Faith, front left; and Esther and Ruth, middle of center row.

The lady at left center is Mrs. Wong Cue, a tailor whose shop was at 103 S. Main; her husband, also a tailor, was arrested in 1929 by the Helena sheriff for possessing $30,000 worth of cocaine and morphine. At right in the middle row is Mrs. Bracken, wife of the superintendent.

The 2007 Butte Archaeological Dig, sponsored by the Butte-Silver Bow Urban Revitalization Agency, uncovered thousands of artifacts from the vacant block that once included the Chinese Baptist Mission. The most important of those artifacts are now on display at the Mai Wah Museum.

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