April 22, 2009

Soapy Smith Museum

(Click image to enlarge)

I received this postcard in the mail today. The photograph, circa 1965, is of the inside of Jeff Smith's Parlor in Skagway, Alaska after it was moved to Second from Sixth avenue. George Rapuzzi, the owner stands behind the bar in front of the mechanical Soapy Smith. When a visitor open the front door Soapy's eyes light up as he turns his head to see who is entering his saloon. His left arm raises a beer mug welcoming the visitor.

In 1974 during my first visit to Skagway with my family, the Parlor was closed to the public but George let us in for a private tour. It still looked as it does in this postcard.

The building and collection is now owned by the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (NPS) and is set for restoration, which realistically should take about a decade, perhaps longer due to the economy.

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