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The Mai Wah Museum, 17 W. Mercury St., is a non-profit established to preserve and interpret the Asian heritage of southwest Montana. It is located in the Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and the Wah Chong Tai mercantile. From 1880 to the 1920s, Butte had a bustling Chinatown. The 1914 Butte city directory listed 62 Chinese businesses. The mercantile building was constructed in 1899, with the noodle parlor following in 1909. Wah Chong Tai merchandise included Chinese and Japanese porcelain, bulk dried herbs and tonics and Chinese-style clothing. It now houses more than 2,500 original artifacts, making the mercantile one of the most complete period Chinese stores from the early 20th Century in the U.S. The Chinn family, which owned the noodle parlor until the 1950s, had a family reunion at the Mai Wah earlier this summer. The Mai Wah and Wah Chong Tai is an artifact of a time when many different ethnicities and nearly 100,000 people called Butte home.

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