Skagway-A Gold Rush Town

Views along the Inside Passage
As the cruise ship maneuvered through the Inside Passage, we were treated to spectacular mountain views and countless glaciers and icebergs.  The beauty and grandeur of this area is hard to express and the photos we took don’t begin to do justice to this part of the trip.

Approaching Skagway, we decided to participate in a bus tour of the area.  We wanted to hear about the history of this former gold rush town.  In the late 1800’s thousands of gold prospectors passed through Skagway on their way to the Klondike gold fields.  Today, the town is primarily a tourist destination for cruise ships, like ours. 

The tour was conducted in an early 1900’s style vehicle with the driver and narrator/historian dressed in late 1800’s garb.  The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park maintains a six-block area, making this one of the best-preserved gold rush towns in the country.  The history of this town is filled with stories of lawlessness.  The most famous story is that of a local swindler and con artist, Soapy Smith, who was making money off the prospectors.  One of his ruses was to charge prospectors $5 to send a telegraph back home—but there was no telegraph service in the Skagway.  One of the stops of the bus tour was to visit the Skagway cemetery to see the memorial to Frank Reid, the man who shot Soapy in 1898.  Frank was killed in the gunfight, as well.  He was considered a local hero for ridding the town of this gangster element.

Frank Reid Memorial
The tour ends back at the Museum, which is maintained by the National Park Service.  The Museum contains countless relics from the late 1890’s during Skagway’s heyday.

Heading back to the cruise ship with our heads filled with the amusing and the horrendous stories from the gold rush days, we proceeded to the dining room for one of our final dinners on board.  It’s been a while since this trip, so I’m not sure if it is the same now or not, but meal times were always pretty special and I don’t think we ever had a meal that we didn’t enjoy—especially that midnight chocolate buffet I mentioned before—now that was truly memorable!  
More views along the Inside Passage

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