The Corner of 19th and Arapahoe Streets

 

Before the new police reinforcements were able to quell the crowds, rioters broke into a laundry at 19th and Lawrence Streets and put ropes around the necks of the owner, Ah Sing, and his worker, Sing Lee. They dragged the men into the streets, where Ah Sing was able to escape after one or more white citizens persuaded the crowd to stop momentarily.

 

After Ah Sing got away, the mob became enraged and viciously attacked Sing Lee. He was repeatedly beaten and kicked, then dragged down the street to the corner of 19th and Arapahoe Streets where a rope was thrown over a lamp post. Sing Lee was hung by his neck, but the rope either broke or came untied.

 

The rioters believed he was dead, but when his body was taken to a doctor's office the physician discovered Sing Lee was still alive. The doctor tried to revive him, but Sing Lee died about two hours later. The doctor later testified that Sing Lee had been beaten severely all over his body and probably died from a concussion or ruptures of internal blood vessels.

 

There are no reports of other deaths, perhaps because the newly expanded police force took several hundred of the Chinese away and placed them in the county jail for their protection. They were not released until four days later.

 

Despite claims totalling more than $30,000, no Chinese were ever paid for property or business losses.


After the violence ended, more than a dozen rioters were arrested, but almost all of the charges were dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The following year several men were tried for the murder of Sing Lee. A jury found all of them not guilty.

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Sources: Wortman, Zhu, local newspapers

 

 

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About this site: The intersection of 19th and Arapahoe Streets is still at the same location as it was in 1880.

Denver

© 2020 Tim Greyhavens. All rights reserved.

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