Rock Springs is a city in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, United States.
Rock Springs is located in an energy-rich region with many oil and natural gas wells.
One of the worst race riots in American history, known as the Rock Springs Massacre, occurred among miners working near Rock Springs on September 2, 1885. There are still remains of the old coal mining towns outside of Rock Springs.
The Rock Springs massacre, also known as the Rock Springs Riot, occurred on September 2, 1885, in the present-day United States city of Rock Springs, Wyoming, in Sweetwater County. The riot, between Chinese immigrant miners and white immigrant miners, was the result of racial tensions and an ongoing labor dispute over the Union Pacific Coal Department's policy of paying Chinese miners lower wages than white miners. This policy caused the Chinese to be hired over the white miners, which further angered the white miners and contributed to the riot. Racial tensions were an even bigger factor in the massacre. When the rioting ended, at least 28 Chinese miners were dead and 15 were injured. Rioters burned 75 Chinese homes resulting in approximately US$150,000 in property damage ($3.94 million in present-day terms).
Tension between whites and Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century American West was particularly high, especially in the decade preceding the violence. The massacre in Rock Springs was the violent outburst of years of anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act suspended Chinese immigration for ten years, but not before thousands of immigrants came to the American West. Most Chinese immigrants to Wyoming Territory took jobs with the railroad at first, but many ended up employed in coal mines owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. As Chinese immigration increased, so did anti-Chinese sentiment from whites. The Knights of Labor, one of the foremost voices against Chinese immigrant labor, formed a chapter in Rock Springs in 1883, and most rioters were members of that organization. However, no direct connection was ever established linking the riot to the national Knights of Labor organization.
In the immediate aftermath of the riot, federal troops were deployed in Rock Springs. They escorted the surviving Chinese miners, most of whom had fled to Evanston, Wyoming, back to Rock Springs a week after the riot. Reaction came swiftly from the era's publications. In Rock Springs, the local newspaper endorsed the outcome of the riot, while in other Wyoming newspapers, support for the riot was limited to sympathy for the causes of the white miners. The massacre in Rock Springs touched off a wave of anti-Chinese violence, especially in the Puget Sound area of Washington Territory.
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steep hill, with runaway truck ramp on left
Recreation Area Headquarters
Lake created for recreation
People and Places