December 31, 2012



ay the year 2012 end on a high note. As we bring in the year 2013 my family and I would like to wish you much wealth, health and happiness!

Pencil safe for Soapy Smith?

Pencil safe
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

t  is a well-established fact that Soapy Smith wrote an enormous amount of letters during his lifetime. He also kept daily notes in notebooks and made notations on business cards he collected. Some of these scribblings are in ink (another post for the future) but many are in pencil, away from home and sometimes from civilization. It seems rather logical to assume that he carried a pencil on his person, rather than constantly asking and hoping others had one he could borrow. Today, we take pencils and writing paper for granted as most households have drawers filled with them. Looking at the Soapy Smith collection of documents there is one known surviving sample of business stationary for the Tivoli Club in Denver but the greater portion of the letters are written on the business stationary of other firms, justifying the fact that Soapy was probably not at home when writing the many of his letters.

Close-up of pencil safe relief
Race-horse and wine bottle
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

Did Soapy carry a pencil? If he did he probably picked up, or was given, a "pencil safe" like the one shown above. The safe protected the sharpened pencil lead from breaking, as well as protected the clothing, other documents, and the body itself, from puncture. I had never given Soapy writing utensils much thought until I saw and purchased the one shown. Any opinions on this?

Close-up of pencil safe relief
Dancing girl (belly dancer?) and playing cards
Jeff Smith collection
   (Click image to enlarge)

“No one should be ashamed to admit they are wrong, which is but saying,
in other words, that they are wiser today than they were yesterday.”
—Alexander Pope


1775: The British repulse an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec. Montgomery is killed in the battle.
1841: The state of Alabama enacts the first dental legislation in the U.S.
1852: The richest year of the California gold rush produces $81.3 million in gold.
1862: U.S. President Lincoln signs an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
1873: Four soldiers of Company B, 25th Infantry are attacked by Indians at Eagle Spring Texas. One Indian is wounded.
1877: U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes is the first to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House.
1879: Thomas Edison gives his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
1891: New York's new Immigration Depot is opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals.
1897: The city of Brooklyn, New York, is absorbed by the city of New York.

December 27, 2012

First bill issued by The First National Bank
Creede, Colorado March 29, 1892
Auctioned off for $101,790.
(courtesy of Bonhams auction firm)
(Click image to enlarge)

 thought I had lost that, may I have it back please?
                                                                - Soapy Smith

Ok, Soapy really didn't say the above quote but I bet he would if he were alive today! Perhaps some of these same bills, if not this very one, passed through his fingers?  I would not mind having a few of these stashed somewhere, especially considering the price ($101,790.) it fetched at auction just two weeks ago! 

Follow is part of the description from Bonhams auction firm.

New York – Bonhams is pleased to announce a stellar result for its December 13 auction of Coins, Medals and Banknotes in New York. During the winter sale, the auction house was privileged to offer several rarities including "Property of a Gentleman: An Important Collection of English Coins," an exquisite collection of 45 lots English coinage struck between the 14th and 19th centuries and a newly discovered $5 Series 1882 "Brown Back" National Banknote from Creede, Colorado that sold for $101,790.

The previously unreported note was the first bill issued on March 29, 1892 by The First National Bank of Creede, Colorado on its first day of charter, the date of issue on this note. The institution only existed until December 31, 1895 when it was liquidated. In addition to the fact this is the only known example from Creede, it presents with bank serial number 1 and is accompanied with a paper envelope stating: "FIRST BILL ISSUED AT THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CREEDE. SIGNED BY JOHN MCDONOUGH PR J.W. MERRITT CASHIER." All currency from this bank, Charter 4716, was issued as $5 notes in vertical sheets containing four subjects. As of 1910, only $255 face appraise (total) was still outstanding making this issue virtually unobtainable, even then.

Creede is a small town in Colorado with a population of only 290 people in 2010, located in Mineral County in Southwestern region of the state. It became a "boom town" in 1889 when large amounts of silver were discovered in nearby Willow Creek. Creede's boom lasted until 1893 when the Silver Panic overtook mining towns in Colorado. The price of silver plummeted and many of the silver mines were closed. Colorado is a popular Western state for National Banknote collectors; many of the charters are considered scarce or rare. There are a number of unreported (unknown) issues, Creede previously being one. Collectors and connoisseurs alike will pay close attention as this note becomes available at Bonhams in December.

Paul Song, Director of the Rare Coins and Medals Department at Bonhams, said of the banknote: "We were pleased to offer such a rare example in our winter auction. The previously unreported $5 banknote is 120 years old and holds a storied place in American history."

"Soapy Smith, bunco steerer, thief, gambler, desperado, holdup, marshal of the town of Creede in its early days, a big man in Skaguay, and who has played numerous other roles during his eventful life, has at last handed in his checks and passed over the snowy range with a cigar in his mouth, a curse on his lips still wet with the firey liquor, and his thick-soled boots tightly on his feet."
Denver Times, July 17, 1898.


1845: Dr. Crawford W. Long uses anesthesia for childbirth for the first time. The child being delivered is his own wife’s. Dr. Long is also the physician who three years prior, in 1842, first used ether for surgical anesthesia.
1881: Charles Earl Bowles alias “Black Bart” robs the North San Juan-Smartville stage.
1892: Soapy Smith gives $50 to Parson Tom Uzzell at the rear door of the Tabernacle church, and tells him to put the money to use where it will do the most good.
1894: Newspapers report that Soapy Smith and his gang are heading to Japan. It turns out to be a ruse.
1894: Deputy Sheriff Pike Landusky is shot and killed in Central Montana by outlaw Harvey Logan alias "Kid Curry." Three days previous Landusky had Logan arrested and beaten, believing Logan to be involved with his daughter. Logan procured a bond and was released. Landusky was drinking in Jew Jake's Saloon when Logan found him there and struck him with his fist. Landusky pulled a pistol and threatened Logan, who was unarmed. Jim Thornhill gave Logan his pistol and as Landusky tried to fire, his gun jammed. Logan fired killing Landusky. Logan was arrested, but released when the inquest showed he acted in self-defense. However, the judge, a close friend with Landusky, requested and obtained a date for a formal trial. Fearing he would not get a fair trial, Logan fled.
1900: Carrie Nation stages her first public smashing of a bar at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kansas. She breaks every liquor bottles she sees. Nation did her damage with a hatchet, calling her destruction, “hatchetation.”

December 19, 2012

Soapy Smith in Hope, Alaska 1896.

"Party of Gold Miners"
Hope, Alaska 1895
(Click image to enlarge)

ou may recall reading here or in my book that Soapy Smith visited Sunrise and Hope, Alaska in 1896. You might remember I posted here that it had been confirmed that he performed the prize package soap sell racket there, or the letter (artifact #11) he wrote to his wife while on board a steamer headed to the gold fields on Resurrection Creek.

Hope, Alaska
from aboard a ship
circa 1895-96
(Click image to enlarge)

I found three "new" photographs (on eBay) of Hope, Alaska, circa 1895-96 that I want to share with you. One thing that struck me hard is the fact that Soapy successfully performed and won cash and gold from the miners and in this very rough country. It certainly removes any belief that the prize package soap sell racket is a "big town swindle only." It seems obvious to me that one would have to be an amazing master of human nature to convince anyone in this completely primitive and lawless setting, to gamble on buying cash laden cakes of soap in the middle of no-where. Not only did he con the locals, but he freely sailed away without being chased by those who realized they had been taken. One slip-up and Soapy could have found himself swinging from the nearest tree branch.

Hope(ful) miners
Hope, Alaska 1895
(Click image to enlarge)

Sunrise and Hope, Alaska
June 9, 2010
December 13, 2010 

Sunrise and Hope, Alaska: pages 411-13.

"Every crowd has a silver lining."
—P. T. Barnum


1732: Benjamin Franklin publishes his first Poor Richard's Almanac.
1776: Thomas Paine publishes his first American Crisis essay.
1777: General George Washington leads his army of 11,000 to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.
1842: Hawaii's independence is recognized by the U.S.
1863: George Ives is hung in Bannack, Montana Territory for the murder of Nicholas Thiebalt.
1864: Nicholas Earp and family, including son Wyatt Stapp Earp, and six other children arrive by wagon-train in San Bernardino, California from Iowa.
1871: Albert L. Jones wins a patent for corrugated paper.
1880: Outlaws Billy the Kid, David Anderson alias Billy Wilson, Dave Rudabaugh, Charlie Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard, and Tom Pickett are ambushed in New Mexico Territory by Lincoln county Sheriff Pat Garrett and several deputies who fire on the outlaws. Pickett and O'Folliard are shot dead from their saddles. Rudabaugh's horse is shot and collapses, but Rudabaugh manages to mount Anderson’s horse and escapes with the Kid and Bowdre.
1887: Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fight a bare knuckle boxing match fight which lasts a seemingly impossible 106 rounds. The fight is halted due to darkness and Kilrain is given the win.
1893: Soapy Smith files a $5,000 damage suit in Denver against Charles G. Chever and William B. Palmer at whose property at 1705 Larimer had a coal-delivery hole which was left open and he fell in. Outcome of the suit is unknown.
1903: The Williamsburg Bridge opens in New York City. It is the largest suspension bridge in the world 1924. It is the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cables.
1907: A coalmine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania kills 239 workers.

December 16, 2012

Soapy Smith museum restoration: part 19

Ticket for the Martin Itjen
museum in the Meyer building
circa 1920
(photo courtesy of Bob Lyon)

ur very fine friend, Bob Lyon, historian over at the National Park Service in Anchorage sent me another gem of information. You may recall in past posts that there was a possibility that early Skagway tour guide icon Martin Itjen may have started a museum in the Meyer building previous to opening one in Jeff Smith's Parlor. Bob now states that,

We can be quite certain Itjen operated a museum in the 1920s, probably the one I mentioned in the Meyer Building at Fifth and State. Attached are a ticket [see above] for that museum (no address given--darn that Martin!) and an ad [see below] from the Skagway Alaskan in the 1920s (also no location). The signs Becky Shaffer and I uncovered, as well as the sign at the docks, all named the museum, "Museum of '98." To complicate the story, Rapuzzi and one of his brothers had a museum in the Pantheon building in the 1920s, as well. It's mentioned in Clifford's book, The Skagway Story--but no address. One of our interns, Aaron Wood, discovered a photograph taken in the 1920s with a large sign on the corner where the Pantheon is, saying "MUSEUM," with an arrow pointing west along Fifth. I've also seen a photograph of a dogsled displayed in front of the Pantheon, but not enough of the building shows to tell if it was part of any sort of museum at that time. Too many questions!

Itjen Museum of '98 ad
Skaguay, Alaskan
circa 1920s
(photo courtesy of Bob Lyon)

The Meyer block was constructed in 1899 by Herman Meyer for his Arctic Meat Company. The gymnasium on the far end was constructed between March-May 1900. It closed in December 1901. In 1902 Meyer purchased the gym to expand his meat market. In 1903 Meyer's meat business closed and the buildings closed to renters in 1910. By 1914 the buildings were listed as abandoned.

My original post had the following passage. 
Before 1920 Martin Itjen purchased the buildings and opened his Museum of '98. Later, he purchased and placed his collection inside Jeff. Smith's Parlor. 
Mr. Lyon sent me the corrections and additional information below (thanks Bob!). 
Actually, Rapuzzi bought these buildings in 1921 and 1922. The YMCA he bought from the city (unpaid taxes, I'm guessing) for $60 in gold. Doesn't say if it was dust or coins (I really wanted to record it as 60 pieces of gold or doubloons or something, but NPS wouldn't go for that sort of joke). The Meyer Building he bought from Carstens Bros. Packing Company of Tacoma--a meat packing company that bought the building and business (Arctic Meat Company) from Herman Meyer in 1902. They must have kept up the taxes on the Meyer Building. Itjen didn't own them at any time, but, considering his friendship with Rapuzzi, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Itjen had a museum in a Rapuzzi building.
There's a very convoluted history of Meyer and Carstens. Meyer bought the lot from Carstens in 1899 for $1. He'd been a partner with Frye-Bruhn Co., another meatpacking firm from Seattle. As such he was sued by Carstens for not paying for a shipment of meat. Then Carstens bought the business from Meyer in late 1902, but didn't actually buy the lot from Meyer until a year later, for $1. When Meyer left Skagway for Valdez in 1903, he was a partner with Carstens in a local trading venture. In 1918, he was back in Seattle and a partner again with Carstens in a nut importing business. There's more, but I'll spare you. Actually, if you look at who owned what in early Skagway, at one point Meyer owned the lot that Soapy's is on now. Lots were divided and sub-divided and it can be very difficult to figure out who owned what when.

When Itjen passed away George Rapuzzi inherited the business and kept the museum in the Parlor going, while using the Meyer building as storage. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (National Park Service) now owns all the Meyer buildings and Jeff. Smith's Parlor and his restoring them.

The Meyer block
Fifth Street and State
Skagway, Alaska
(photo courtesy of Jim Wayne)

I've mentioned this probability but selfishly hoped something would change in our favor. We knew this day was coming, but still, I am sad to report that we are losing Mr. Bob Lyon as a contact for Skagway, Alaska restoration progress. Mr. Lyon writes,

I'm done with Skagway for now, working on a National Register nomination for the first NPS building at Glacier Bay National Park.

We are so thankful for all he has done for us, and of course we hope the very best for him in whatever he does. He is always welcome here!

Bob Lyon and museum restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)
March 21, 2012 (Part 10)
March 30, 2012 (Part 11)
June 20, 2012 (Part 12)
August 8, 2012 (Part 13)
August 29, 2012 (Part 14)
September 1, 2012 (Part 15)
September 26, 2012 (Part 16)
October 4, 2012 (Part 17)
December 6, 2012 (Part 18)

Today's quote is in honor of Bob Lyon
"It is frustrating as hell, yet exhilarating at the same time,
to know that historical research never ends."
—Jeff Smith


1773: Nearly 350 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor off of British ships by colonial patriots. The patriots were disguised as Indians. The act was to protest taxation without representation and the monopoly the government granted to the East India Company.
1811: A major earthquake rocks 30,000-square-miles of the wilderness in Missouri. Legend and estimations say the quake may have been as high as 8.6 in magnitude, which would make it the largest known earthquake in north America. Little is known because the area was sparsely inhabited. Frontiersman Daniel Boone's stone home near present day Defiance, Missouri moved a few inches off its foundation. It is claimed that the earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as fifteen feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. Tremors were felt along the east coast of the United States, shaking hard enough to make church bells ring.
1835: Fire in New York destroys 530 buildings.
1875: A lone highwayman robs the San Juan, California stagecoach.
1881: A grand jury in Tombstone, Arizona Territory refuses to indict the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday for the murder of Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank McLaury.
1884: The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana opens to the public for a six month fair. Soapy Smith writes that he attended the affair, most likely operating short cons to fleece the gullible of their money.
1901: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is published.
1903: The first female ushers are employed at the Majestic Theatre in New York City.
1905: Sime Silverman publishes the first issue of Variety magazine.

December 14, 2012

Reversing question about Soapy Smith.

ne of the new bits of information to come from Cathy Spude's book "That Fiend In Hell": Soapy Smith in Legend is the fact that the famed photograph of Soapy on his horse has actually been published in reverse since 1898. The photograph itself has always been somewhat of a mystery to begin with. Reverend John Sinclair is probably the person who snapped the picture on July 7, 1898 however, his son James claims the picture was taken on Broadway. New information shows this photograph to have been taken on State Street. Over the decades various copies of the photograph have been published with the date "July 4th, 1898" etched into the negative as seen in the photographs shown here. other versions show "July 4th 1898" in larger size across the side of the picture by the horses head. Up to now, no one had properly identified exactly where in Skagway the photo had been taken.

Soapy on his mount
as published since 1898
Is it reversed?
note: someone wrote "July 4th 1898"
Alaska State Library, William R. Norton Col. ASL-P266-067

Never having seen a copy in the reversed (correct) fashion I cautiously looked into Mrs. Spude's claim. In her book she published a cropped closeup of a photograph in the Frank Barr collection at the Fairbanks University. In that photograph Mrs. Spude points out the location of a very similar looking building in the background and identifies the street as being Fifth Avenue. Before agreeing with her conclusion I found and examined my copy of the non-cropped Barr photograph to verify that the street is actually Fifth Avenue, and it is. The building she points out sits on the s.e. corner lot of Fifth and Main Street. In the photograph above that same building appears to be on the n.e. corner which is incorrect, therefore Soapy would have to be have been riding north rather than south as always believed.

Skagway, Alaska June 1898
Note the edits in yellow.
The red X indicates where Soapy was when photographed.
Soapy's saloon (Jeff. Smith's Parlor) is also noted
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Barr Coll.

(Click image to enlarge)

Before seeing the entire Barr photograph of Skagway (see above) I wrote to Karl Gurke of the Skagway unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park (NPS) and asked him to look on,

page 65 of Cathy Spude's book in which she describes that the photo of Soapy Smith on his horse is actually reversed. I'm still undecided about this possibility as I have not looked closely enough at other photographs of the street to see if more of the buildings line up correctly. Perhaps the one main issue I have is that there are no other "non-reversed" photos known to exist.

Soapy on his mount
In correct direction
Alaska State Library, William R. Norton Col. ASL-P266-067

I consider myself very fortunate to have such willing member of the Park Service in which to help gather additional information. I learn a lot from Karl and in this instance he was up to par as usual. He replied that,

... regarding reversed photos - yes we have a few - some I was able to catch - pretty obvious - and some not so obvious. For example there's a photo of the Sunset Telephone Office in Dyea. Although you can read the caption, all the signs are reversed. We had to scan it, reverse the image, and now the signs are right but the caption is reversed. I know of at least two Skagway waterfront images that are reversed. Dave Neufeld, the Canadian historian, has pointed out one or two reversed historic images on the Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail that I had not been aware of. There are others - so while reversed gold rush era images are not common, they are known to exist and perhaps more common than you would suspect. I know of at least 11 reversed images not counting this Soapy one, that we have in our collection and I'm sure if I closely inspected every image we had, I'd find more. 
Karl Gurcke

Close-up details
Fifth Avenue
Skagway, Alaska June 1898
Red "X" and arrow show location and direction of Soapy
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Barr Coll.
(Click image to enlarge)

In her book Mrs. Spude makes the claim that a building blocking State Avenue just north of Fifth was intentionally blackened out so that it would appear that Soapy was heading south. She states that it is part of the Soapy legend, but I disagree for the following reasons. The Sinclair archives in Victoria, British Columbia noted in a 1979 letter that some photographs from the collection are "latern slides," thus most likely Glass. In searching many photographic collections of Skagway and the Klondike during the gold rush I noted many photographs in glass form, and many had blackened sections just as Soapy's mounted on horseback photograph. Sinclair sold about 20 of his photographs to another photographer and others were stolen so it's reasonable to assume that some of these photographers published the photograph in reverse. What is most strange to me, as I had mentioned to Mr. Gurcke, is the fact that thus far no correct non-reversed examples of photograph have surfaced in any known collection, nor have any been published anywhere.

Close-up details
Holly Avenue (Sixth Avenue)
Red arrow points to Jeff. Smith's Parlor.

University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Barr Coll.
(Click image to enlarge)

It is always exciting to find new information on Soapy. Cathy Spude deserves recognition for figuring out the error. Well done Cathy.

Rev. John A. Sinclair: pages 17, 437, 452-53, 505, 513-14, 522-23, 542-43, 546-47, 557-61, 565-66, 576, 595.

"My name is Smith—Soapy Smith—an' when
you’re in trouble say so an’ I'll help you."
—as said to Cy Warman in 1892
San Francisco Call September 4, 1898.


1798: David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents the nut and bolt machine.
1799: George Washington, the first president of the United States, dies at the age of 67.
1819: Alabama joins the Union as the 22nd state.
1859: Fort Brown in Brownsville, Texas receives reinforcements and defeats outlaw Juan Cortina at La Ebronal.
1859: Corporal Patrick Collins, from Camp Verde, leads an attack against a camp of Comanche Indians near the north branch of the Guadalupe River in Texas. One Indian is killed and three are wounded. Fifteen horses are captured.
1860: Missoula County in Washington Territory is established, taking in all of present day western Montana.
1867: Two woodcutters are killed by Indians in an attack near Fort Kearny, Wyoming.
1880: Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garret joins forces with the Frank Stewart posse in looking for Billy the Kid. They head towards Fort Sumner, New Mexico, Territory.
1903: Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalls during take-off and the plane is damaged. In three days they will try again and succeed. The aviation age is born when their flying-machine stays aloft for 12 seconds traveling a distance of 102 feet.

December 6, 2012

Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration: Martin Itjen, part 18

Left, believed to be the original Packard engine from the first
Martin Itjen Skagway Street Car shown in the photo on the right.
  George & Edna Rapuzzi Collection, Klondike Gold Rush NHP

artin Itjen is a hero with the fans of Soapy Smith, for without him Jeff. Smith's Parlor would not have been saved, along with many other Skagway historical artifacts. The National Park Service continues to research the items along with the Rapuzzi Collection. One recent find is believed to be the original engine to his famed tour bus. The story is told in the following article published in The Skagway News.


Original Itjen Street Car engine located in Rapuzzi Collection

Local Skagway car restorer Tobias Parsons recently identified the original motor to Martin Itjen's Street Car #1 while assisting National Park Service and Municipality of Skagway museum staff with the inventory of the George and Edna Rapuzzi Collection. The Rapuzzi Collection contains a wide variety of vintage automotive parts, which sparked Parsons’ interest.

NPS Curator Samantha Richert asked Parsons to examine the Street Car, which is in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park museum collection, to see if he could identify any useful parts. His inspection of the Street Car’s 1908 Packard chassis led to his identification of a matching 1908 Packard engine in the Rapuzzi Collection inventory, which Parsons and the park’s museum team believe is the original Street Car engine.

“This is an exciting discovery and we’re happy that Tobias has been able to help Samantha in looking through the auto parts of the collection,” stated Superintendent Mike Tranel in a press release.

The Rapuzzi Collection, which includes an estimated 30,000 items and five historic buildings, contains many artifacts related to Martin Itjen, a stampeder who later led Skagway’s developing tourist trade. After Itjen’s death in 1942, many of his belongings passed to his long-time friend, George Rapuzzi, who was a tourism promoter and guide as well as a consummate collector in his own right.

The Rasmuson Foundation purchased the collection in 2007 and donated it to the Municipality of Skagway with the understanding that it would be processed jointly with Klondike Gold Rush NHP. Staff from both museums have been inventorying the collection for five years, and just tallied the 11,000th item, the release said. Skagway Museum director Judy Munns and the park’s curator jointly review the inventory for items that would be appropriate for their collections, and approximately 6,000 items have been included in either the municipality’s or the park’s museum collections. Inventory and research will continue on the collection this winter.

The buildings donated as part of the Rapuzzi Collection have also undergone significant restoration work since the Rasmuson Foundation’s donation. The National Park Service has poured foundations and erected new roofs for the YMCA, Meyer’s Meat Market, and Jeff. Smiths Parlor Museum.

The municipality has installed underground power and made safety improvements to the Commissary and has made minor stabilization repairs on the Rapuzzi/Dahl house. When restoration is completed, some buildings will include museum space for the Rapuzzi Collection to be prominently displayed. Jeff. Smith’s Parlor will showcase many artifacts from both the Itjen and Rapuzzi eras as they contribute to the “Soapy” story of Skagway’s gold rush history, the release states.

Artifacts will continue to be featured in exhibits such as the upcoming Yuletide seasonal window display at the park headquarters, located in the historic White Pass and Yukon Route Railway Depot on 2nd Avenue.

“I’m currently recruiting volunteers with expertise on trains,” Richert said. If you would like to help to assist with identifying train-related parts and equipment in the Rapuzzi Collection, please contact her at 907-983-9222. The park has a new Facebook page, which also features many of the Rapuzzi Collection artifacts. It can be found at:

The Skagway News
November 21, 2012


*I wish to thank Bob Lyon, historian for the NPS for sending me the information.

Jeff Smith's Parlor restoration

February 4, 2009 (Part 1)
February 19, 2009 (Part 2)  
March 31, 2010 (Part 3)  
August 7, 2010 (Part 4) 
February 11, 2011 (Part 5) 
April 5, 2011 (Part 6)
May 8, 2011 (Part 7)
May 17, 2011 (Part 8)
November 20, 2011 (Part 9)
March 21, 2012 (Part 10)
March 30, 2012 (Part 11)
June 20, 2012 (Part 12)
August 8, 2012 (Part 13)
August 29, 2012 (Part 14)
September 1, 2012 (Part 15)
September 26, 2012 (Part 16)
October 4, 2012 (Part 17)

Martin Itjen: pages 11, 12-13, 453.

"My business is selling prize packages. No one is obliged to buy."
—Jefferson R. Smith, Weekly Register Call, 8/2/1889.


1790: U.S. Congress moves from New York to Philadelphia.
1821: Grandparents of bad man Soapy Smith, Dr. Ira Ellis Smith and Ellen Stimpson Peniston marry in Petersburg, Virginia.
1865: The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.
1866: Indian Chief Red Cloud observes the decoy tactics of the Ogalala Sioux Indian braves Crazy Horse, Yellow Eagle, and High Back Bone two miles from Fort Kearny. Warriors taunt soldiers who are out guarding woodcutters, getting the soldiers to lead a chase, and then the Indians attack in mass from the rear. Two soldiers are killed and Red Cloud is convinced that if a large number of soldiers were to be lead out of the fort, a thousand Indians would wipe them out.
1870: Silent-screen actor William S. Hart is born in Newburgh, New York. He is raised in the Dakotas. He is most famous for his western films, starting in 1915, in which he sought authenticity.
1875: The Indian Bureau in Washington, D.C. sets the deadline of January 31, 1876 for all Indians to be on reservations or be considered hostile and treated accordingly.
1876: Jack McCall is convicted in Yankton, Dakota Territory for the murder of “Wild Bill” Hickok and sentenced to hang on March 1, 1877.
1876: The city of Anaheim, California is incorporated for the second time.
1877: Thomas Edison demonstrates the first gramophone with a recording of himself reciting the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
1883: Ladies' Home Journal begin publication.
1884: The construction of the Washington Monument is completed after 34 years.
1886: The first Kansas, Nebraska and Dakota train arrives in Topeka, Kansas.
1889: Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, dies in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1907: The worst mine disaster in the United States kills 361 people in Monongah, West Virginia.