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The Chinaman Gulch Loop. Photo courtesy of FourteenerNet.

A gulch on the south side of Trout Creek Pass was named for a Chinese man who lived there and cut trees to make ties for the two railroads coming down the pass. These were the Denver South Park and Pacific in 1880 and the Midland Railroad in 1887.

Joe Cogan, a local rancher (now deceased) told me his Dad knew of the Chinese man and showed Joe where his cabin had been in Chinaman Gulch. This was 75 years ago and not much was left of the cabin even then.

Reported in the local paper in June 1895 were the following quotes; “The celestial proprietor of the California Laundry was fined $10.80 yesterday for persistently throwing slops where he was told not to.”

In addition, later in December of 1895 “Ho Hoy has two men at work on the Pearl of Pekin Lode in Arnold Gulch. Hoy claims he has the world by the tail.” (Ho Hoy owned the California Laundry.)

Arnold Gulch is in the same area but is higher up the mountain. Chinaman Gulch is shown on some old maps and on a 2010 San Isabel Motor Vehicle Use Map.

Numerous Chinese men came to the area to work the railroads and some to do mining. Some of the mines that had Chinese men working them were Empress, Manitou, Pat, Twin City, Waverly and the Vesper Tunnel. One mine, which was near Garfield CO, was known as the Badger Mine. I have a Colorado 1883 Mining Directory, which mentions many of these mines.

A number of Chinese graves are located at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Buena Vista.

Ark Valley Voice covered the renaming of Chinaman Gulch when it occurred about two years ago. It is now called Yansing Gulch. It is now shown on area maps but is still known locally as Chinaman Gulch. It is a rough, rocky Jeep 4-wheel drive road.

By Suzy Kelly

Editor’s note: Ark Valley Voice believes that understanding our heritage is an important value no matter our age. Hearing the stories about how landmarks came to be and how our county grew provides context for understanding today. Long-time BV resident Kelly will be submitting occasional articles that we hope will give our readers a sense of place and an understanding our past.