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Downtown Skagway, AK

Downtown Skagway

I don’t mean this in a bad way.  But Skagway is all theatre.  It is a theme park.  But it really comes by that naturally.  But for the Klondike Gold Rush in the Canadian Yukon, there would be no Skagway.  It was essentially a tent town which was the starting point for the trek into the Yukon for gold seekers.  It lasted 2 years.  After that, there was really no reason for Skagway to be.  It appears to have been reborn as a cruise ship tourist attraction.

Today, it is again, a starting point for some of the most spectacular landscapes Alaska and Canada have to offer.  Our primary purpose for including Skagway on the itinerary was the White Pass Railroad.  Perhaps the most fun explanation of the White Pass and Skagway’s place in history comes in James Michener’s novel epic, “Alaska,” in which he chronicles the requirement of the Canadian Mounted police that in order to enter the Yukon territory, a person must have a one-year supply of food, etc, for each person.  Before the White Pass railroad was built, every miner carried his one-year’s worth of supplies up over the pass, making several trips.

The current town is a series of bars and shops (including, remarkably, a number of diamond stores).  Some of the buildings are remodels of original buildings; notably the Red Onion Saloon, which was the local brothel.  As these photographs show, the architecture is an eclectic mix of influence from Russia and the American West.  Next:  White Pass, Spectacular Scenery and a surprise wildlife shot.

Downtown Skagway

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