Monday, June 21, 2010

Skagway- Day 6

After visiting Juneau, we arrived in Skagway, Alaska the following day (new entry #106). An old gold rush town, Skagway also has the rich history that goes along with this period in time. This includes saloons, the railroad, ladies of the night and gangs. Most of the buildings in Skagway are original, but have been restored and are still in use today. Some are hardware stores, restaurants, jewelry stores etc. One of the most notable places is the Red Onion Saloon.
Not just a restaurant, there is a Brothel Museum upstairs. You can go on a tour if you would like. We didn't go on the tour as it was "$15 for 15 minutes just like in 1896". However, the ladies who work there and give the tours still dress in period attire. They also talk and relate to tourists the way the girls would in the gold rush.

The next building that we saw was Jeff. Smith's Parlor. Also, known as "Soapy" Smith, he was a gangster and led lots of organized crime in Skagway among other places. He was a major influencing factor in Skagway during the Klondike Gold Rush. This building is original, although it has been restored.

In Skagway, the railroad was a major development that made it much easier to get over the mountains and into Dawson City where the gold was. Before the railroad was built, the prospectors would have to hike the very long and strenuous Chilkoot Trail with all of their gold-digging gear. After the railroad, the prospectors did not have to make this arduous journey on foot. This contraption was used on the front of a train engine to clear snow from the tracks. The front would spin and the snow would fly off the tracks and onto each side.

We also visited the historic Moore Homestead while in Skagway. William Moore and his son Ben Moore claimed 160 acres and named in Skagway, which comes from a Tlingit word that means "windy place with white caps on the water". The log cabin was the original building and the house was built and lived in by Ben Moore and his family, including a Native Alaskan wife. Once more people came to this area, the local government that had been established ignored Moore's homestead claims and instead gave them 5 acres for their homestead. Both buildings have undergone extensive rehabilitation so they may be preserved. Inside the blue house, there was a detailed account of how this preservation was done.

Just another interesting building in the town. Look! It is covered with sticks!!

This was an advertisement painted on the side of a building. It is a small souvenir and t-shirt shop in the little town.

We had a great time in Skagway. It was a little windy, just like the Tlingits said. After looking around the town for the morning, we went on a nice hike to a small lake. It was great to stretch our legs! After the hike, we rested up for the next day's visit to Glacier Bay National Park.


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