Letters to the Editor

Patterson letter: Chinese tunnels

Your recent articles regarding the myth of Chinese tunnels under Boise was demeaning to the proven history of Chinese residents in Boise in the 19th and early 20th centuries as hardworking contributors to the success of this community. The breathless enthusiasm of the articles gave hope to the idea long abandoned by any serious local historians or rational thinkers that such tunnels ever existed.

The premise of the articles was: Wouldn’t it be cool to prove that the Chinese in Boise dug tunnels under the city where they smoked opium and housed prostitutes and scuttled about underground like vermin?

The fact is that the Chinese came to Idaho as miners and business people and farmers, and raised their families, built communities and preserved their culture in a hostile environment. Take a look at Chinden Boulevard in Garden City. Shortened from Chinese Garden where the Chinese grew fruits and vegetables to sell to the growing city of Boise, they were displaced — there is a story for you — and Chinden became a den of European immigrants and their offspring for gambling, alcohol, prostitution and narcotics — all above ground.

George Patterson, Boise

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