Homestead

This crudely built cabin was moved from the ghost town of Leavick in 1959. It was originally restored as a Chinese Tong House (a meeting place), as Chinese labor played a large part in placer mining in the Fairplay area. It is believed that this exact spot was the site of a Chinese Tong House during the gold rush days. Not long after the building was reconstructed and open to the public it was vandalized and many artifacts stolen. It was then used for storage for many years until 1981 when it was turned into a homestead. Although the building is not restored as a Tong House, it is appropriate to recognize the influence the Chinese laborer had in the early mining operations in and around Fairplay.

When placer mining was in full swing on the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, Chinese laborers (referred to in those times as “Coolies”) met at the Tong House to receive their daily work assignments. Lin Sou managed the men and acted as spokesman for the group as most of the Chinese could not speak English. The Chinese also worked in Fairplay and the surrounding communities as cooks, doing hand laundry and housekeeping. The early Fairplay settlers got their drinking water from a Chinese worker who carried the water with the help of a yoke in five-gallon coal-oil cans. The cost was $2.00 for fifty-four gallons. It was an expensive and tedious way to get drinking water. The river directly behind the Stage Coach Inn is the location of the placer mining work done by the Chinese. Early articles indicate that Edward Thayer, who worked for Frederick Clark and J.W. Smith, brought 200 Chinese laborers to work the placers.

Most of the Chinese lived across the river in approximately twenty (20) one-room houses built in a row with a common wall separating each dwelling. Each house was constructed with a single door and window and had a small pitched roof. Many believe that the Chinese were not allowed in the gold camps and towns of the South Park area. This is not true; however, there was much discrimination and most were forced to live across the river from Fairplay. This cabin location was the only spot they were allowed in town. It has been said that the only Chinese person allowed to live in Fairplay was China Mary who ran a hand laundry. Her home still stands near Sixth and Front Streets.

Today, the exhibit housed in this building is that of a homestead, and depicts the self-sufficiency of the early settlers.