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Published: July 19th 2011
July 14, 2011 – LEISURE DAY IN SKAGWAY
Three things happened today. First we went up on Dyea Way to get an overview of Skagway and some pictures of the layout of the city. It is long and narrow with the waterfront being only five blocks wide. The Skagway River valley is very narrow and hemmed in by almost vertical rock walls. The view from up on the hill gave great perspective to the town. Second, we visited the Gold Rush Cemetery which was used for only a few years from 1897 until just after the turn of the century. By then it was full! Most of the grave markers are for adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and a number of children. Most interesting are the graves for the two most famous (or infamous) of Skagway’s gold rush citizens, Jefferson “Soapy” Smith and Frank Reid. The story is very dramatic and very sad, but a great commentary on the nature of
Skagway in gold rush days – a violent, immoral, drunken and thieving society that used people for gain and cared little for the value of human life. All that mattered was GOLD and the funds of those who
came to look for it. Third, we went shopping for gifts for our grandchildren (and a few things for ourselves). Lots of interesting stuff in those shops and they are ready for the cruise ships to dock at the rate of 5 per day – lots of customers looking for something that says “Alaska” on it. The locals call the people from the ships “shipple”.
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