Our Skagway Alaska Experience

by Ann Y.
(Tucson, AZ)

The Red Onion Saloon - Skagway Alaska

The Red Onion Saloon - Skagway Alaska

We went on a cruise along the inland waterway to Alaska. One of the stops was to the old mining town of Skagway Alaska. I took this photo of the historic Red Onion Saloon while we were in town. That is - hubby Will and I.

Skagway is a famous Old West mining town, which was full of miners and cowboys seeking fortunes during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s. Tons of people came to town in those days. So it attracted the opening of many saloons like the Red Onion. Also in town were some unsavory characters, like the infamous Soapy Smith.

The Red Onion is well known for its 1890s brothel. They have turned those upstairs rooms into a museum, which you can now tour. We did not take the tour, but I wanted to get a good photo of the Red Onion Saloon, because we wanted a remembrance of the historical aspect of Skagway. Especially as it related to the Gold Rush years.

The bar inside looks like the typical old West style, wonderfully made. You can include the brothel museum with a walking tour that takes you through many historic areas in town, including the upstairs of the Red Onion and other brothels, as well. They even include a champagne toast! Of course you must be 21 for that - even 14 or older is suggested to take this tour. And parental discretion is advised. The museum tour costs $10, for a 20 minute tour. They claim there is a resident ghost there - Lydia! You also get a Red Onion garter souvenir included.

We did not do the tour, as we stopped in a little too late. We had a drink, and then moved along to see other parts of town. That is when I took this photo. Skagway also has its own cemetery, known as the town's Boot Hill.

We did enjoy our time in town. And we would love to go back again. But the next time we would not take the cruise. Instead we would go on our own - maybe take the inland ferry that goes up the coast. Do it on our own time schedule, so we do not have to compete with cruising crowds!

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Aug 22, 2019
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Skagway's Soapy Smith!
by: Karen

I added an additional photo from the Skagway area, taken around 1898. It is a historical addition, featuring Jeff Smith's Parlor. Jeff Smith was his real name - Soapy was his nickname. He got that name from a con game he ran using bars of soap.

His parlor was a spot for drinking, gambling, and access to women of the night. The building is essentially still there, but has been reconstructed. Now you can visit it as a tourist attraction.

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