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.

Harding’s little speech

July 11, 1923 President Warren Harding addressed a small group of folks in Skagway:

“We may wonder what is the greatest end of life. Men make their plans and try to adhere to them. Skagway, a port situated in a mountain pass, was developed and made notable in a rush of men seeking to acquire something of material value.
There is a motive which is inherent in us, but the longer I live and the more I see of communities and human beings, the more firmly is my belief established that the sweetest thing in the world is the friendship of a few dependable friends. This is the happiness that makes a life of contentment.
Apparently you have much of that here, as much as may be found anywhere in the country, and you also live in an atmosphere that tends to cultivate ambition and lofty aspirations. I only hope that the worthy ones came to full realization.”

Shown above with his wife a few steps north of AB Hall before this speech. He passed away a few days later in San Francisco. This was perhaps the last speech he ever gave.

From the Evening Independent July 12, 1923.

deadly Chamber of Commerce meeting

Henry Clay Parker was one of the members of the Chamber of Commerce meeting in Skagway held on March 28, 1900. During the meeting he had a heart attack and died. What were they discussing?
Mr. Parker was born on this day April 17, 1848 in Illinois and came to Skagway with his wife and son. He worked with Aggers in a business they called appropriately Parker and Aggers, but what they did is a mystery.
His wife had his funeral held in the new Arctic Brotherhood Hall, it was the first funeral held here in the hall. Henry was a member of the AB and apparently also the International Order of Odd Fellows as that is also on his headstone, seen above in the Gold Rush cemetery.

Alaska Weekly 1931 article;Skag death rec;

AB Logo

Walter H. Ferguson designed the logo for the Arctic Brotherhood around 1903. It was a gold pan with the letters AB inside. Because of the historic cooperation between the U.S. and Canada it had both flags, and in other versions had two hands shaking.

AB in 1910

What three things are missing from the front of AB in this picture that are here today?
Answer tomorrow.

Marshal Si Tanner

Also on September 20, in 1927 though, Marshal Josiah Martin “Si” Tanner died here in Skagway. Famous for having arrested 26 outlaws after the Soapy Smith shootout, Tanner served as US Deputy Marshal, Skagway Mayor, Sheriff, Senator and Judge in Skagway. Arriving in 1896 he also had a hardware store and sold Bicycles. He also owned the AB Hall where the visitor center is now from 1903 to 1914.

Originally from Michigan, born in 1850, he died of a heart attack at the age of 77 while having sex with Mrs. Macomber in her store. According to Robert Dahl (son of Dr. Dahl), when Tanner’s daughter came to Skagway to arrange the funeral she told Mrs. Macomber that she would “burn in hell”. Well a few months later, Mrs Macomber’s store burned and she ran back into it to retrieve something and was overcome by the fire.

Be careful what you wish for.

Curious Tales, Mystery & More

Are you interested in Alaska? Skagway is one small Alaskan town unlike any other. Its very name evokes images from the past of passion, crime, struggles and dreams of fortune.

My name is Marlene and I work for the Municipality of Skagway in the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). If you follow my blog I will revel you with the incredible but true stories that I discover.
Every week at AB Hall (Skagway’s City Visitor Center) I meet many descendants of the gold-rushers who passed through Skagway in 1897-1898.
In this blog I will unearth tales of ghosts that inhabit buildings; famous people who stopped here; murders only recently uncovered; missing people; shipwrecks; avalanches; merchants; romance; orphans and lost souls.
These are their stories.