Here is another great old photo taken by Case & Draper in Skagway harbor in 1905. It too was sold recently for a few dollars, here was the description:
“The Alaska Steamship Company’s SS DOLPHIN Is shown arriving in Juneau August 17, 1905. Admeasured at 824 gross tons, the SS DOLPHIN was built in 1892 at Wilmington, Delaware. The ship was 225 feet in length with a 40 foot beam and displaced 1500 tons. She had twin screws turned by triple expansion steam engines. The ship originally carried the names AL FOSTER and THE FOSTER and was used as a club boat to carry fishing parties on Long Island Sound. Alaska Steam purchased the ship in 1900 and brought her to Alaska by sailing her around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. This tumultuous voyage featured a 21 day passage from St. Lucia in the West Indies to Montevideo, Uruguay; a horrific storm off the Rio de la Plata; a confrontation with the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego who tried to burn the ship; and a mutiny by the steward’s department in Coronel, Chile. After the ship took on coal for her boilers in Coronel, six mutineers were left ashore in the local jail. The ship operated from Puget Sound to Southeast Alaska. She was able to carry 150 first-class passengers and 200 second-class passengers and 600 tons of cargo. The DOLPHIN was famous for carrying gold south from Skagway and for racing other steamers from rival companies through Lynn Canal. Alaska Steam operated the ship from 1900 to 1917 when she was sold. Eventually the ship was reported to have found her way back to Chile ending her days as a gunboat operated by the Chilean Navy.”
I found this neat picture on Ebay. This Case and Draper photo was taken in 1905 in Skagway harbor. The photo sold for a few dollars recently, here is the description:
“Two decks, two masts, 1075 tons. 213.1 x 31. 15.7 feet. 36 crew, 140 passengers Built in 1896 at Eureka, California. Operated on the Alaska route for many years.
The steamer Humboldt of the Humboldt Steamship Co Max Kalish, manager, piled up on Mouat Point, a rocky promontory on Pender Island off the Vancouver Island Coast on September 29. In charge of Capt. E. G. Baughman, the vessel was en route from Seattle to Skagway and other southeastern Alaska ports and was feeling her way through a dense fog. A wireless call for help was sent, and the fishing steamer Edith, Capt. Thomas A. Miller responded, removing all the passengers safely. Although her bow was crumpled back four feet from the stem, she was later refloated by J. E. Pharo’s Puget Sound salvage steamer Santa Cruz and, following repairs, resumed Alaska service.
The little Alaska steamer Humboldt, once famous as a gold carrier in the Puget Sound -southeastern Alaska run, was sold at auction in San Francisco to satisfy creditors’ claims. Thereafter she was little used, remaining in layup at San Diego until 1935.”
Katherine Ann Gonzales was born on February 14, 1859 in California. She had a husband and two children but decided to abandon them and go to the Klondike in 1898. She worked as a whore in Skagway and men enjoyed her many talents. One day she was found smothered in her bed shortly after it was revealed that she was sleeping with several married men in town. It was a mystery who committed the murder – perhaps a jealous wife? Her husband John paid to have her body shipped home to San Jose. It is said that her ghost still haunts the alleys of Skagway on cold windy nights!
I saw that this little label sold on Ebay for $417 recently. The Eagle Brewery was run by William and Bertha Schwartzenberg who were from Germany. It ran from 1905 to 1910 here in Skagway. Cheers to Bill and Bertha!
1910 census; online at gustavushistory.org
In Ketchikan, in 1945, smoke billows from the steamship Prince George. The ship caught fire September 22, 1945. She was towed from the dock and allowed to burn when it became clear that the fire was uncontrollable.
Donor: Bert Libe, Courtesy Tongass Historical Society
When Captain Harry Barlow lost his ship the Port Admiral near Wrangel in February 1898 in a blinding snowstorm, he bought the little passenger steam launch Mocking Bird. He put it into use as the Skagway to Dyea as the ferry service in 1898. The little 20 horsepower, 72 foot long vessel was built in 1889 in Tacoma and weighed 38 tons gross. She was still registered in 1910 but then disappeared from history.
From Gordon Newell, Maritime Events of 1898 and H.W. McCurdy, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Wikipedia; transcribed from the Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping
Arthur was the eighth child born to the Richards family in 1859 in Ohio. His older sister, Clara ran the post office in Dyea, a story which I wrote about earlier here. Apparently her two brothers were also here, Arthur and Daniel.
Arthur was appointed by the U.S. Commissioner to be U.S. Marshal for the Dyea District. In a letter he wrote:
“I have been over the trail to the headwaters of the Yukon several times, to arrest men for getting into rows – generally for using guns…The wonder to me is not so much that men die but that any can survive the hardships. So much packing in mud and wading waist deep in ice-cold water, right from the glaciers above. A good many give up their outfits here for what they can get, and return home. ”
One descendent said that family lore has it that Arthur was responsible for laying the first telephone line from Dyea to the top of the Chilcoot Pass. That would have been during the 1897-98 time as there were several tramways built at that time also. They had better communication then than now, even cell phones don’t always work on the trail today.
He also said ” It is a pleasant trip up here from San Francisco except that accommodations are limited, and while the excitement keeps up the ships will be overcrowded. The steamer I came on, the Mexico, sank on her return trip in 200 fathoms of water and everything lost but the passengers.” this would have been in August 1897 because I found the following article:
The Alaska Searchlight of August 14, 1897 reported on the wreck of the Steamer Mexico: “near the end of Dixon Entrance. The steamer was southbound when it ran upon some hidden rocks at 4 o’clock on the morning of the 6 th . The rocks stove a big hole in the bottom of the boat, but luckily there was not freight on board and the bulkhead compartments of the boat kept it afloat for about two hours, when it finally sank in 100 fathoms of water. The shock caused confusion on board and passengers were thrown from their berths. In a few minutes, however the officers quieted down the passengers while the crew quickly launched the boats and every passenger was transferred from the sinking ship. The hand baggage belonging to passengers was taken from the ship and it is reported that the mail was taken off, although it is not definitely known. There were one hundred persons on board….”
1900 census; Daily Alaskan 3/13/1900 (in 2001 Skagway News); Skagway Museum record; CA death rec; Photo and letter courtesy of Diane Richards Design. Information and updates courtesy of Glenn McKinney – many thanks!
When Alaska was purchased in 1867 the prohibition of alcohol was extended from the lower 48 where liquor was prohibited from areas inhabited by Native Americans. In the Spring of 1898 however, a bill was introduced to Governor Brady to suspend the law since it was, by and large ignored anyway. Certainly the dozens of bars in Skagway attested to that. I have already blogged on the alcohol issue which is quite extensive, but I was more interested in the use of drugs in Skagway during the gold rush.
I just went through my database and counted about 30 druggists and owners of drug stores here in the gold rush. I never really thought about that until an article in the New Yorker described the use of opium, cocaine and marijuana at the turn of the century as legal. We’ve all heard the story of how Coca-cola actually had real cocaine in it which gave a real high. Morphine was commonly prescribed for all kind of ailments and apparently so was marijuana. In some cities, such as San Francisco, the many opium dens became such a problem that citizen vigilantes attempted to drive them out, or at least underground. Seen above is such a group in San Francisco.
Certainly there was opium here, or at least morphine, as I have a note that Syd Dixon, an accomplice of Soapy was an opium addict. Did the druggists in town regularly prescribe these? Here is a photo of an opium container and an advertisement from New York from that time.
Intoxicants & opium in all lands and times, p. 163, By Wilbur Fisk Crafts;
Klondike Chest by Grainger; Mission Klondike, Sinclair; historynet.com
Alfred Hulse Brooks was born on July 18, 1871 in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Harvard in 1894. He loved geology and exploring and so, in the gold rush, came to Alaska. He photographed many communities including Skagway – all of the photos are at the Yale Library Collection (which is odd considering he went to rival University, Harvard).
In 1898, the federal government announced a systematic topographic and geologic survey of Alaska that would include renewed exploration of the Brooks Range. Brooks, as new head of the Alaskan branch of the USGS, called the project “far more important than any previously done,” due in large part because it “furnished the first clue to the geography and geology of the part of Alaska north of the Yukon Basin.” Between 1899 and 1911, six major reconnaissance expeditions traversed the mountain range, mapping its topography and geology and defining the patterns of economic geology so important to prospectors and miners. He is credited with discovering that the biggest mountain range in Arctic Alaska was separate from the Rocky Mts. The range was named for him – The Brooks Range.
He served as chief geologist for Alaska for the United States Geological Survey until his death in 1924. Every year from 1904 to 1916 and from 1919 to 1923, Brooks wrote summaries of Alaska’s mineral industries. The missed years, during World War 1 were those that he spent in France as chief geologist for the American Expeditionary Force in France. He died on November 22, 1924 and is buried in Washington D.C. at the Oak Hill Cemetery. I love the inscription on his grave:
Wikipedia; findagrave; Hunt, “NPS Golden Places,” page 56.