Main Site of the Riot
The size of the crowd quickly spilled beyond Wazee Street, and by two o'clock in the afternoon a crowd estimated at two to three thousand people filled all of the surrounding streets. Cries of "Down with the Chinese" and "Hurrah for Hancock" inflamed the mob. When the mayor of the city tried to disperse the crowd by turning fire hoses on them, it only aggravated the situation.
Soon the crowd began throwing bricks and breaking into Chinese stores and homes. By late afternoon a full riot was in progress. The police were vastly outnumbered and without a chief at the time, and they were unable to stop the growing violence.
As the mob grew more violent, several private citizens were known to have taken brave stances to protect some of the Chinese residents. At a brothel near the corner of 17th and Holladay (now called Market) Streets, a group of prostitutes successfully protected a few Chinese by facing down the crowd with shotguns, champagne bottles and stove pokers.
By late afternoon the Chinese business and homes in the area were "gutted as completely as though a cyclone had come in one door and passed out the rear." Hoping to prevent even further violence the mayor appointed a fireman as acting police chief, and he quickly appointed 125 "special officers" to help re-establish order.
It would taken several more hours before the riot was under control.
Sources: Wortman, Zhu, local newspapers
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About this site: In testimony given to the coroner's grand jury, it was reported that after the fire hoses were turned on the crowd some men began chasing a Chinese man named Ah Chung. They ran down 17th Street to Holladay, where Ah Chung was taken into a house for protection. Soon the street filled with rioters looking for Ah Chung and any other Chinese they could find. They began marching down Holladay and Blake Streets toward 19th, where there were several Chinese laundries.