Traveling Across
Alaska

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park

Home >> Alaska Home Page >> Alaska State and National Parks


Did You Know
Jokes
Puzzles
Recipes
Tributes

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
DC
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park
P.O. Box 517
Skagway, Alaska 99840
Voice: 907-983-2921

The Peniel Mission, built in 1900, offered religious and humanitarian services to the stampeders. Between 1900 and 1910 the mission kept its doors open. Just a block from the heart of Skagway's saloons, gambling halls, and the red light district, the mission offered nightly meetings, Sunday services, shelter, and warmth. The mission also sponsored revival meetings and brought in foreign missionaries to lecture.

This building was constructed in the fall of 1897 by the son of George Brackett, builder of the Brackett toll road to White Pass City. James Brackett operated a small trading post here until his expanding business forced a move to a larger structure.

In August, 1897, a great number of stampeders arrived in Skagway - a warm, dry place to sleep foremost in their minds. Some solved the problem by sleeping under the tables in saloons they patronized. Clerks slept in their shops. Others discovered the board and batten hotels that went up overnight to meet the lodging need. These "hotels" contained tiers of bunks or cots that lined the walls and filled the rooms. Meals were served en masse.

Although the District of Alaska was officially dry during the "Gay 90's" some 80 saloons and breweries sprang up in Skagway to quench the stampeders' thirst. Besides supplying alcohol, the flourishing saloons served as gathering places for the miners. Here they could play pool, gamble, listen to music, and get direct reports via telegraph on sporting events in the states.

Shipping prospered during the gold rush. Between August 1897 and January 1898, 20,000 prospectors came by boat to Skagway. Prices for tickets skyrocketed and ships with accommodation of 100 passengers carried five times that number. As passenger business waned after the main rush, the Pacific Clipper Line secured the contract to haul freight for the building of the railroad. Some 15,000 tons of material were shipped from Seattle for that purpose. In 1900 business slowed again. Books were sold in the ticket office, and by 1902 most of the tickets sold were outbound for Seward or Valdez. Although business continued to sow in Skagway, the Pacific Clipper line was destined to become the Admiral Line, which later dominated Pacific Coast passenger shipping. The building was later sold and became part of the Mascot Saloon.

The old Railroad Depot and General Office Building more than any other symbolizes Skagway's will to live, to outlast boomtown impermanence and become a city. Originally two separate buildings, the depot opened in 1898 and the office building was completed in 1900. As the railroad grew the two buildings were joined, creating additional office space and more room for baggage and freight.

The railroad depot was hurriedly constructed during the frantic 1898 gold-rush boom. Reflecting the shortage of materials, its builders used a patchwork of old packing crates and other secondhand lumber. From the second-floor bay windows the dispatched could see the tracks that once wrapped around the cut-a way southwest corner and headed north on Broadway. The depot's long eaves, since clipped back, sheltered passengers from the rain. Wall paper and painted trim adorned the interior.

Unlike the depot, the later office building was carefully planned and has walls and ceilings of plaster on lath. Quality woodwork, stained and varnished, provided a handsome interior. The entire building was erected around a two story fireproof vault made of brick and steel over a stone foundation. Offices and baggage room completed the plan. There was no panic to build this structure - the railroad was here to stay.



 

Pictures and information were provided by the Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park

Alaska Home Page | Alaska Cities | Alaska Historical Buildings | Alaska Historical People and Events
Alaska Lighthouses | Alaska Museums | Alaska State and National Parks

About Us | Contact Us | Did You Know Facts | Jokes | Puzzles | Recipes | Suggest a Site | Tributes

Copyright A View of America 1998 all rights reserved any and all content on this site is protected by law. Any use without written permission is strictly prohibited.