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Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

The train enters a tunnel on the White Pass & Yukon railroad


Today we took our group on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, a narrow gauge line that runs north from Skagway. While riding on this railroad, built more then a hundred years ago, one can still see the remains of the 1898 gold-mining trail. The train took us up 3000 feet in elevation to the US/Canada border.

Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

Our group on the railroad


100,000 men and women headed north on this trail but only 30,000-40,000 actually reached the gold fields in Dawson City.  About 4,000 prospectors found gold but only a few hundred became rich.

Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

Flags on the border between the US and Canada on the White Pass railroad


Today the town of Skagway has a few hundred residences in the winter but explodes in the summertime due to the hundreds of thousands of tourists arriving.  The town has maintained the quaintness of the old, small town outpost of the 1890’s.

Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

Phil visits Sarah Palin in her childhood home of Skagway


Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

Broadway


It was here that the infamous scoundrel Soapy Smith made a name for himself.  It seems Soapy ran a combination saloon and telegraph office.  When a prospector came through town and wanted to get word to his family back home in the lower forth-eight, he sent a telegram:  “Arrived in Alaska, headed for the gold fields.”  In a day or two, a reply would come back: “So good to hear from you.  Good luck in the fields.”

Skagway (Home of a Scoundrel)

A seal gets his dinner right beside our ship docked in Skagway


The only problem was that when the telegram was sent, it followed the telegraph line out of the building, up through the woods about 300 hundred yards, and into a dead end.  Soapy would simply fabricate the reply!  It all went well until the scam was discovered…and now you can visit his grave just outside of town.




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