Chinese Opium Scale

The Case:

A woman in Missoula, Montana bought what looks like an old, miniature fiddle case in the Montana mining town of Butte in the 1960s. When she made the purchase, she was told the case didn’t hold a fiddle, but rather a scale that was used for weighing opium.

Could this really be an antique from the Chinese community of Montana? The Chinese were among the first immigrant groups to arrive in Montana in the 1800s. After the  California gold rush petered out, Chinese immigrants moved away to find work  building the railroads, mining gold, and in restaurant and laundry businesses. 

History Detectives heads to Montana to find out how Chinese immigrants survived for decades in Big Sky Country, particularly during a time when anti-Chinese sentiment was rampant in the U.S.

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Season 4, Episode 6

Elyse Luray Location:
Missoula, Montana

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