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[COMMUNITY] Ping Yang School Bombings

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  • madchinaman
    The Ping Yang School Bombing Near Marcola Oregon by Stephen Williamson Email: STEVEW@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU http://www.efn.org/%7Eopal/pingyang.htm FIRST BOMBING
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2003
      The Ping Yang School Bombing
      Near Marcola Oregon
      by Stephen Williamson
      Email: STEVEW@...

      May 1895 - Additional details listed below

      The Second Bombing of Ping Yang School - Winter, 1900
      The second bombing of Ping Yang School happened in the winter of
      1900. This was at the time when newspaper articles show a number
      of "negroes" and "Japs" coming in to work on the Mohawk railroad.
      Joe Huddleston was seventy years old when the railroad came to
      Mohawk - and he was not glad to see it. He had come to Oregon when
      he was a boy in 1840 with his parents. He had lived with the
      Calapooya Indians and once had an Indian wife. The new railroad
      station was built directly across the road from his house.

      Joe Huddleston had only one eye - the other was scratched out by his
      former wife. He lived mostly off the land, hunting and fishing and
      growing enough berries to make wine on his eighty acre farm. Claude
      Hammitt writes that he took care of a family who were mentally
      retarded and had helped many of the early homesteaders. Huddleston
      also had a unique way of fishing in the local creeks. He would use
      dynamite and blast out dozens of fish at a time. He would fry the
      fish and share them with his cat. He was called "Old Joe" by
      everyone because of his advanced age and near legendary status in
      the community.

      Less than three months before the final bombing in July of 1901, the
      Southern Pacific Railroad established a train station at the
      crossroads known as Mohawk and Ping Yang. The railroad wanted
      approval of all names of communities where it was creating stations.
      Thus the community of Mohawk or Ping Yang was renamed Donna, after a
      young local girl. The town of Isabel was renamed to its present day
      name, Marcola. The bombing of Ping Yang was a reaction against all
      this growth and the thousands of people who were coming to Marcola
      for jobs.


      On a hot July summer night in 1901, in a small community near
      Marcola, Oregon a school named Ping Yang was completely blown up by
      a bomb. It was the third attempt to destroy the school since 1895.
      No one was ever arrested for the bombings. Why was the school named
      Ping Yang? Why was it bombed? The answer is a complex mix of
      social, religious and racial prejudices that exploded in the small,
      rapidly growing community.

      The Ping Yang School has been only briefly mentioned in a couple of
      local accounts. This article is the first attempt to put together a
      sequence of events to understand why the school was bombed. The
      school was about 12 miles east of Eugene-Springfield where the
      current community of Mohawk stands. Like many rural schools at the
      time, Ping Yang was a small schoolhouse with just one classroom.
      Each bombing was at night and no one was injured.

      Ping Yang opened in early 1895. The community had been divided on
      building the school and one single-minded man polarized residents of
      the area. Someone first tried to set fire to it in early 1885.
      That attempt failed, but in May of 1895, a bomb was put under the
      floor of the school at night. A second bombing occurred around the
      winter of 1900. Finally the school was completely destroyed in July
      1901. No one was ever arrested for any of the attacks which happened
      over a six year period - yet most people knew exactly who was


      No One Was Ever Arrested for the Bombings
      Joe Huddleston is mentioned in each version of the stories of the
      Ping Yang School bombing - yet he was never charged. Nor was anyone
      else ever arrested for the crimes. Both the 1895 and the 1901 news
      stories say that "suspicion points to certain persons" but there was
      no tangible proof of their involvement. The July 15, 1901 article
      calls the bomber a "fiend" and notes the long community battle over
      the school.

      Perhaps part of the answer of why no one was ever arrested is
      simple - the bombings were bad publicity for a community trying to
      grow and join the 20th century. No community seeking new families
      and industries would have wanted to be noted for school bombings.
      Any trial would have vastly increased the amount of bad publicity.
      While this writer has not read all possible newspaper sources, it
      does not appear that the County or State governments did much of
      anything about the attacks on the small school.

      There were four attempts to destroy the school (three by dynamite
      and one by fire) over a six year period. There may have
      been "socially sanctioned" reasons why no one was arrested for the
      bombings. In 1895 the issues may have been the rapid growth and
      that some people were using the school for dancing - a practice
      condemned by many religious groups. Joe Huddleston was smart enough
      to use these fears to get rid of the school and the noise of its
      bell and children. However, the community as a whole. let him and
      his followers avoid prosecution..

      Ping Yang School operated quietly for the next five years, until
      1900 when the school was bombed again. By 1900 there were many more
      immigrants in the valley, brought by the railroad being built by the
      Japanese. The Japanese had recently arrived in the community and
      established a base camp for constructing the railroads. The 1900
      bombing was closely tied to people's racial fears of the new
      immigrants - especially the large number of Asians. In 1901 the
      school was hosting a "woman preacher" - something that has been very
      controversial throughout the entire history of Christianity. Each
      of could be reasons why the authorities would not want a highly
      publicized court case.


      All Quiet at Ping Yang at Present
      Today Ping Yang is not much bigger than it was 100 years ago. The
      railroad is long gone and so are most of the local lumber mills. The
      Mohawk Elementary School is not far from where the Ping Yang
      schoolhouse once stood. The quiet community is again known as
      Mohawk since the name of Donna never really stuck.

      Claude Hammitt's store is still open in Mohawk. He wrote the
      article about Joe Huddleston and Ping Yang for an issue of The West
      magazine. Parts of his story are also in a Lane County Historian
      article from 1974. A copy of The West magazine article was in the
      store, where I first saw it a several years ago.

      In 1909 a new schoolhouse was built to replace Ping Yang. The
      school was renamed to Mohawk and operated for the next 50 years. The
      building is still standing, but is now a private family home. The
      new school cost over two thousand dollars to build. Ping Yang had
      cost less than five hundred - plus repairs.

      Ella Hayden and Maude Kerns both went on to have outstanding careers
      as teachers in local schools and the University of Oregon. Charly
      Hayden took care of his aging parents for another two decades. He
      kept in touch with his Japanese friend Maeda for many years. He
      bought a better farm a few miles away and now the road is called
      Charly Lane. His descendents live there today.

      Joe Huddleston sold his farm and moved away a year and a half after
      the final bombing. Rather than becoming a hero in his community he
      became an outcast. The December 31, 1902 New Year's Eugene Daily
      Guard says that a lumber mill would be built on his place and that
      the move should receive "the approval and hearty recommendation of
      the Mohawkers."
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