Local Histories- Ping Yang School

In early 2017 the Mowhawk Valley Schools made the belated decision to change their mascot from a Native American caricature to…pretty much anything less offensive. Ironically, this is not the first time the tiny community has had to address institutionalized racism and their schools.
In the late 1890’s the then timber boom-town of Mohawk, Oregon built a new grade school and named it Ping Yang. They did this, not to honor their Asian community, as there was none, but rather, it seems, because the ringing of the school bell and shrieks of the playing children reminded the residents of the sounds of battle at Pyongyang- which the locals pronounced Ping Yang.
The name was only the first indication of the local’s disdain for the school. It was set on fire shortly after its construction in the winter of 1895, but survived. Five months later, someone placed a bomb under the floor. It continued in this vein, with the school surviving another bombing four years later, until it was finally destroyed in a fire in 1901.
There is no official history of these events. No one was ever charged, nor does it appear that there was ever a formal investigation, so the bombing of Ping Yang school sits, as an awkward footnote.