December 3, 2010

Replica of Jeff Smith's Parlor being constructed, part I

 See part II,

A Soapy Smith fan has already started constructing a replica of Jeff Smith's Parlor, Soapy's saloon in Skagway, Alaska. I met "Wolfgang" on the True West forum a while back, but it was not until November 14 that I met him in person out at the Whitehorse Ranch. After talking with him all weekend, Wolfgang, a retired ship builder and construction man, decided to take on building the replica. Wolfgang keeps a written and  photographic record of his projects, such as his family cabin in Ohio, and here is the link for the Parlor work. I will also keep everyone up to date here on this blog.

The replica Jeff Smith's Parlor under construction

As some of you may recall, this new replica is not the first. There is one in Finland (see here). The idea for the most recent project came out of my conversations with Wolfgang during the Whitehorse Ranch Memorial event. It was his first trip to the ranch and obviously he enjoyed himself as he offered to pay for and construct the building. I had mentioned my dream of building Jeff Smith's Parlor on the ranch. On the nights I had trouble getting to sleep I would get into a zone while imagining "what I would do if I won the lotto." One of those imagined plans was to build a replica of the Parlor at the ranch. In my imagined version the Parlor was built on a side street as there are no more vacant lots along the main one. Pete changed the lot layout to make room on the busy thorough-fare for Wolfgang's construction. Looking on his link above you can see that the construction is well under way.



  1. I am certainly no expert re: deciphering the true colors of painted surfaces via old photos.

    As an artist however...and noting the gray shadowing beneath the banners guess would be pure in 'white wash'...a lime based common solution used to quickly color natural wood...white.
    Due to the remoteness of Skaguay in early 1898....actual 'paint' may not have been commonly available...yet.

    Let's not forget...time seemed to be of the essence to get ones building and business up and operable as quickly as as not to miss out on the potential business from the fervid stampeder's.

    So...white washing a building 'may' have been the logical choice.

  2. Friend, Rich.

    Thank you very much for your comments. I did not think to ask the Park Service whether the Parlor may have been white washed. Historical records do show that many common items were shipped to Skagway, where the shops made a killing in profits. this included paint as studies show numerous buildings were painted. I could be wrong but I assumed the white portions of the Parlor were white paint. You know what happens when one assumes!

    My post started with a search for the colored sections of the building which are not white. The sign, "Jeff Smith's Parlor" at the top appears to have white lettering with a dark background and trim of another color. Then there is the trim around the edge of the building, the windows, and doorway. Placing all the known photographs I have of the Parlor together shows different shades of color which is most likely from mixed camera exposures and sun light depending on the hour of the day each photograph was taken. I doubt that the Parlor trim was painted several times while owned by Soapy but this is a possibility as well.

    Friend, Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff,I too am no expert in this sort of thing but I know there exists what is called the grey scale. On the grey scale, white is white and black is black, but there are different shades of grey which represent different colors in the color spectrum. If you search under the grey or gray scale on Wikipedia they explain it in great detail and give great examples making it easy to understand. By examining the shades of grey you perhaps could determine the colors yourself. Hope this helps.
    Chuck Smith
    Thatcher AZ

  4. Thank you very much Chuck. I had trouble locating a good Wiki article but did find the following, if you know the link of the page you referenced please post it. I sure could use it.

    I have been led to a few other sites as well, including these two.



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