Yee Wau Cabin

Reeder's Alley, Helena, MT

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Yee Wau Cabin Reeder's Alley

Photo taken by David Jones in January 2020

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Description 

"Typical of the tiny dwellings that once lined Last Chance Gulch, this sturdy log cabin was one of the last built on the heels of the gold rush circa 1870. Its original occupants are unknown. From 1876 to 1886 the Yee Wau brothers, longtime local dealers in Chinese merchandise and groceries, owned the property. Despite discrimination and anti-Chinese legislation, Chinese immigrants comprised ten percent of Montana’s territorial population. These important pioneers made significant contributions especially in laying the tracks of the Northern Pacific across Montana in the 1880s. In Helena, Chinese citizens provided services, owned property, and paid taxes. Chinese dwellings, businesses, and expansive gardens spread for five blocks below Reeder’s Alley. As the male-dominated Chinese population dwindled by the late 1890s, others continued to occupy the tiny cabin. Clairvoyant Daniel J. Schraier hung his shingle here in 1899. In the 1970s, urban renewal erased all remnants of the Chinese community, sparing only this landmark. Its square- and quarter-hewn logs chinked with cement, wonderfully preserved, still provide a cozy home." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

Update Log 

  • November 17, 2021: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • January 25, 2020: New photos from David Jones
  • July 17, 2019: Added by Richard Doody

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