Museum prints interesting history books
July 11, 2018
Books regarding the Rock Springs Chinese Massacre and a guide originally written for treks into Browns Park were recently published by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum.
Both books are available at the museum bookstore and through Amazon.com
According to Brie Blasi, Sweetwater County Historical Museum director, the two books are republications of previous works, but include supplemented information and photographs from the museum’s archives not previously available.
The first book, “Browns Park Treks” was written by the museum’s first director, Henry F. Chadey, for treks he led into the area during the 1980s. Museum exhibits coordinator Dave Mead, added additional information including photos and updated driving directions with the help of Sweetwater County Don Hartley. The book also has an introduction commemorating Chadey by Point of Rocks resident Roger Varley, who grew up attending many of the treks with his parents.
The second book is a reprint of a historic report about the 1885 Rock Springs Chinese Massacre. Blasi said information about the event is in demand, but previously-written books on the subject are out of print. The original report was written by Isaac H. Bromley, who was an employee of the Union Pacific Coal Company. Blasi said the book includes additional information that provides context on the Chinese people living in Rock Springs at the time of the massacre, something she said previous publications have neglected to include. She said the book also provides additional context on the report itself, informing the reader Bromley had a clear bias in favor of the U.P. Coal Company when he wrote it.
“There’s more scholarship in here than just reprinting historical documents,” she said.
Blasi authored a short introduction for the book and said she is proud to have been able to include a photo of William Gottsche, the man who owned the butcher shop Butch Cassidy worked at while in Rock Springs. She said the photo was found in the museum’s archives and is believed to be the first time Gottsche’s image as been published in more than 100 years. The book also contains a bibliography of suggested readings from local historian Dudley Gardner.
Blasi said the main reason the museum published the books was to fill what she described as a gap in scholarship available on the topics. She said other books the museum has published grew from projects initiated by museum staff, such as “Eden Valley Voices,” which she said started as an oral history project with the longtime residents of the area. Blasi said the museum has other publications they’re eager to publish.
Proceeds from the book sales go directly to benefit the Sweetwater County Museum Foundation, a nonprofit organization which provides support to the museum’s projects and programs.