June 11, 2009

Researching Soapy Smith's saloon

(Click image to enlarge)
Soapy Smith's saloon
as it looks today

ne of the newest blogs I found interest in and now "follow" (see right sidebar), comes from Michael Richman, and is called, Commencing to Get Ready to Begin. Michael is a new intern for the Anchorage branch of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. He prefers the title, "Cultural Resource Aid" as an intern is generally not paid and he is. His job is to research several buildings in Skagway, Alaska, including Jeff Smith's Parlor. He writes,

(Click image to enlarge)
Parlor, right side

My first project in to do research on a the Jeff Smith's Parlor Museum. Originally this building was a saloon and gambling spot run by Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, probably the most famous person in the history of Skagway although he only lived there for just under two years. My job is to show the distinguishing characteristics of this historic building and present it to the Park so they will preserve and restore it. If you have any questions just google Soapy Smith and Martin Itjen and you will learn more than you ever wanted to about what I am reading in these next couple of weeks.

(Click image to enlarge)
Parlor, left side

So I have a draft of that proposal type thing due June 15, pretty damn professional for a bullshitter like me, but hopefully I can pull it off. The good thing about this first project is there is already a ton of research on this topic availible to me, so my job is just to put it all togehter in a concise and formal manner.

So that's what I am doing. If you got any other questions (why would you, right?) just leave a comment under this post and I will clear it up for you.

ote, Michael's post above is entitled Nerd Pictures. Mind you he is a young "hip-hop" sort but in reading his blog I can't help but think he is not a happy camper. You have to read about his encounter with a female "nerd" in the historical archives! I believe he is a "nerd" in denial. Come out of the closet and embrace your nerd brothers and sisters Michael! We strongly believe here on this blog that two "nerds" should be allowed to marry one another. In his response to a comment I left on his blog, I will say that he agrees with me that the Parlor should be devoted to Soapy rather than a museum to those after him, but readily admits he has no say in the decision.

All said and done Michael's blog is one I will watch and report on as long as he is working with the restoration project of Jeff Smith's Parlor ... even if he won't click my blog "follow" button.

(Click image to enlarge)
Jeff Smith Parlor
back side


  1. Very interesting. The photos were also really interesting to see. Especially the older ones on Michael's blog.

  2. Mike Askins bigfish3@comcast.netJuly 15, 2009 at 2:48 PM

    When I was a kid around 12 or so, my dad was the Superintendent of the WP&Y Commissary there in Skagway. This would have been around 1957. During the summer, I would go out and find lawns to mow. One of the steady jobs I had was mowing and trimming around Soapy Smith's Parlor. It sure did look alot better that it does now!

  3. Hello, Mike.
    The building has sat dormant since it was closed in the 1960s-1970s. I'm just glad it never caught fire or just plain fell over. It will probably take close to a decade, but I hope you (and I) have the opportunity to see the Parlor once the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park is finished restoring it. It will look perfect.


Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith