Alpine Village in Skagway

For the last time, this year we will set up the amazing Alpine Village and Train Display at AB hall for Yuletide. The Open House here is scheduled for November 30, 2012 after the tree lighting at 5th and Broadway.

Hundreds of hours were spent designing and building these lodges, cabins and stores out of Legos. The largest and most complex structure is the Lodge, designed after the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone. To build this, Arlen had to build it from the top down, but upside down, so that the roof sat on the floor as he built it from a small  photo of the OF Inn. Truly a remarkable accomplishment. For more details you can visit the sites where they are featured.

As some of you already know, we will be retiring and moving back to California this spring. I am beginning to sell off my collection of gold rush books on Ebay. I will continue to write blogs when I can until then. I’m sorry for the sporadic postings of late, as I had some medical issues due to mis- and over-prescribed drugs and medications. The experience has made me very wary of the medical field in general and certainly more conscious of my own health.

Ready to Mush on!

Not sure if this is Skagway, but it sort of looks like it. The sign says Mascot, perhaps the Mascot Bar on Broadway, but quite different.

Ships Lost at Sea

I was re-reading the book “Dynamite Johnny O’Brien” by Herron and found this passage:

“The hazards of the trips to Alaska were suddenly intensified as ships ran ashore or simply disappeared forevere with no trace of t hem or their passengers.  The Clara Nevada was one, and to the growing list of lost ships that he kept in his cabin, Johnny added during that dread year of 1898 the names of the Whitelaw, the Alfred J. Beach, the Momo, the Stikine Chief, Eliza Anderson, the Brixham, and eight others.”

Some of these I have never heard of, let alone the names of the people that went down with them.

Leo the orphan

In a previous blog on “Mollie” Mary Walsh on October 28, 2009, I mentioned that when Mike Bartlett, her husband, shot Mollie at 611 Pike Street in Seattle on October 27, 1902, he then tried to committed suicide. “The newspapers billed it as the trial of the century. The trial began in November of 1903 and concluded Dec. 2 of the same year. Mike was acquitted based on insanity. He spent two years in a mental facility and was released. Six months later, he killed himself.”

This left their 17-month old baby, Leo Bartlett an orphan. He may have gone to the Seattle Children’s home built in 1885, seen above.

Leo was born  on March 18, 1901, according to the Juneau Empire story:

“Mollie delivered her son 73 miles above Rampart while the boat was taking on wood from a large wood pile on the Yukon River. Mike spent the last of their money on a drunken party soon after the birth. After the party, Mike, in a drunken haze, told Mollie that the people on board had named their son Leon Edward Seattle No. 3 Yukon Woodpile Bartlett. This news ended their marriage.”

Leo kept his name, at least the Leo Bartlett part, and was a veteran of World War I. He lived in Hot Springs Arkansas in the 1940’s but died in the Old Soldier’s home in Washington D.C. in the 1950s.  Here is the Memorial number on the Washington D.C. Findagrave site: 21920233

Washington State death records online. Juneau Empire Nov 14, 2010.

Edwin L. Pillman

Mr. Pillman was born in January 1862 in Canada. He and his wife Elizabeth and daughter Ethel lived in Skagway from 1898 until about 1901 and ran a grocery store and was also an undertaker.  When he moved to Atlin he also had a grocery store and a hearse which he would use to transport both fruits, vegetables and corpses. Some people objected to that though.

We photographed this little sign on a building there which says he had the first steam peanut roaster in Skagway in 1898. Who knew?!!! Wouldn’t one of these really add to the ambiance of Skagway in the summer?


Thomas Frederic Harper Reed 1878-1965

Last weekend we went to Atlin, it was beautiful. Stayed at the Brewer’s Bay Chalet which, although clean and plain has a million dollar view of the lake and snow covered mountains. After walking around town in the rain, we visited the Atlin Cemetery and photographed this curious monument to Harper Reed, gentleman adventurer. Have not been able to find out anything more, if anyone knows, please leave a comment.

William Payne Jackson

Captain Jackson arrived in Skagway on July 9, 1904 with the Third Infantry. He was the Quartermaster. He was born on Feb 11, 1869 in Palmyra, Missouri and went to West Point where he graduated in 1891. After serving in Skagway for a year, he married Julia Carr in Galesburg, Illinois (seen above – Julia looks a little wiped out here).

Jackson stayed in the Army becoming a Major General. In World War One he received the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I, as Brigade Commander, 74th Infantry Brigade, 37th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in operations against the enemy in France.

Brigadier General Jackson died on January 13, 1945 in San Francisco where he is buried.

The Annual Bear Shoot


Two mornings ago I was walking to the gym at 5:30 am. It was dark and I was looking at the stars….suddenly a bear charged me . It was a terrifying experience, I screamed,  stumbled and fell, then got up and screamed some more. I focused on the 3-inch yellow claws but it was dark enough that I could not see its face, but I did see another bear behind it. I believe it was a Grizzly sow with cub and she had been eating garbage that was put out the night before. I unfortunately walked within a few feet of them and startled them which is why she charged me. She then turned and walked away.


It was a perfectly predictable behavior on the part of the bear. I hold no anger against her but only sadness that eventually she and the cub will be shot as many others have been each fall. At this time of year they are trying to fatten up before winter and garbage is an easy food source.  The tragedy is that if this little community would invest in bear proof garbage cans for everyone, the problem would be greatly remedied.  I have had many people tell me that they are glad I am alive and that I am brave. I only acted as anyone would, but I am  grateful for the attention that this event has brought to our need for community action. I believe that our community has many good hearted people who would agree that the one time expense of buying the downtown households bear proof trash cans would be worth the cost and effort.