Happy Birthday to little Calantha who was born on this day, September 28, 1896 in Angel’s Camp, Calaveras County, California. Her father, Wallace was a jeweler from San Francisco who seemed to follow the gold. In 1887 he was a watchmaker in Sacramento. He and his wife, Annie Dorothea Westfall and Calantha came to Skagway from Oakland about 1899. Calantha may have attended school in 1900 when they were here for the census, or maybe not.
Wallace invented a portable weighing scale and received a patent on it in October of 1899. It would have been a good thing to have in the field where gold dust was the method of payment.
They moved back to Oakland where he was a jeweler. Calantha married in 1916 and had a son. She died in 1971 in Fairfield, Solano County, California.
1900 Skagway Census, 1880 San Francisco Census; pfawr and mytrees online
Jack Kirmse, son of Herman Kirmse, born in Skagway in 1906 died on this day, February 10, 1993 in Carlsbad, California, he was 87 years old.
Herman and his first wife Ida Shonknioler moved to Skagway in the gold rush in 1897 and established themselves as jewelers. Ida died of convulsions in 1900 and so Herman married Hazel Cleveland here in Skagway.
Jack and his wife Georgette lived in Skagway for many years. They owned the Moore House on 5th Avenue which had been in the family since 1907 when Ben Moore sold it to Herman. In 1977 Jack sold the house to the National Park Service and it was restored with antique furnishings. The house is open to the public in the summer to view.
Each year the Skagway school awards the “Jack Kirmse Scholarship” to a graduating senior, and in 2003, Arlen McCluskey (see January 20, 2010 blog) was awarded this scholarship which helped him pursue his educational goals.
This coming summer the Kirmse’s shop on the corner of 5th and Broadway will again be open for business by local residents Cara Cosgrove and Bruce Weber who will sell unique Alaskan crafts and jewelery made by local artisans. The totem poles on the south side of the shop and the clock face on the mountainside are popular for tourists to photograph.
In the picture above you can see both the shop sign and the sign painted on the rocks above town advertising Kirmse’s. The clock face on the clock shows the time of 7:20 which some have said is the time of Lincoln’s death, but actually it has another meaning: in the U.S. clockmakers will set the face of the clocks they are showing in the shop to 7:20 to show the symmetry of the clock face. A Swiss jeweler told me that in Europe they set their clocks to 10:10, the difference being that it makes a smile instead of a sad mouth – a “sourir” I think she said.