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Thursday, August 12, 2010

SKAGWAY, ALASKA pt. 3


Despite the busy schedule, we still had plenty of time to meander through Skagway, a frontier town with a seven-block-long historic district known as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. We visited a re-created saloon complete with patrons and Bass Ale in the window.

Saloon museum


Bass Ale

There the turn-of-the-century shops and saloons are still open for business. Remember that 100,000 people set out for the Klondike, but only 30,000 reached Dawson city. Others, men and women saw right gold right in the little hamlet of Skagway, and their entrepreneurial spirit mixed gold miners with painted ladies,

Brothel Window


(WE SEE THIS LITERAL "PAINTED LADY" AS WE WALK DOWN THE STREET)

con-artists and gamblers. Skagway was modern with electric lights and telephones. It boasted 80 saloons, three breweries, many brothels, and just about anything that could possibly separate a man from his money.

Rob and I knew where we would separate ourselves from some of our money—The Red Onion Saloon—at one time the classiest dance hall in Skagway.

Red Onion Saloon window

It had an upstairs bordello of ten rooms, small but extravagantly decorated. There were three exits to each room as well as hole cut in the floor with a copper tube connected to the cashier’s desk. A discriminating client, after a few drinks downstairs and perhaps some dances, could choose from ten dolls displayed behind the bar, each one representing one of the ten girls upstairs. When the client chose, the bartender would lay the doll on her back, indicating she was busy. When her money moved down the tube to the cashier, the bartender placed the doll in the upright position. She was back on the available list.


Red Onionbar picture

Very efficient, wouldn’t you say! Today we can take a 15 minute “brothel tour,” but we pass in favor of some brew and time enjoying the Red Onion d├ęcor!




Red Onion Saloon


SOME MORE PICS OF SKAGWAY


Skagway, Alaska building





Skagway, Alaska




Snow blower


HOW'S THIS FOR A SNOWBLOWER!!!


Today’s Skagway is interesting but quite different. A modest home costs $250,000. In the winter, the population drops to 400. In fact, about 4,000 Alaskans of a population of 686,000 spend the winter in Hawaii each year. Despite the climate, the people of Skagway know how to have fun. They are in the Guinness Book of Records for Having the Most People Participate in and Egg Toss. On July 4, 2008, they had 1162 people participate!

Can you tell we enjoyed our time in this place? It brings a smile just to remember and write of it.


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