Filed Under Helena

Yee Wau Cabin

Helena Historic District

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.

Images

Yee Wau Cabin Yee Wau Cabin. Front to side view of the cabin structure, facing west to northwest near South Park Avenue at the entrance of Reeder's Alley. Digital photograph. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Michael Connolly Date: Jan. 2020

Location

Reeder's Alley, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Yee Wau Cabin,” Historic Montana, accessed December 5, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/757.