April 7, 2013

Soapy Smith's proposed saloon and gaming house in Dawson City, Canada 1898

Site of S.S. Portland landing
Seattle, Washington
Photograph by Art Petersen
(Click image to enlarge)

ver the decades one question I have not been able to answer, is whether Soapy Smith ever crossed the Canadian border and went to Dawson in the Klondike. At least one letter from Soapy to his wife in St. Louis, tells of having to go to Dawson and not looking forward to the trip. Apparently he also mentioned the trip to friends as the St. Louis Republic got wind of one of the proposed trips. This is the first mention that I have seen that he planned to open a saloon and gaming house there.

The Well-Known Sporting Man Has Started for Dawson City to Open a Gambling House.

Jeff, better known as "Soapy," Smith has left St. Louis for Dawson City, Klondike country. In that city he will open a saloon and gambling-house, the like of which has never been seen in that frigid country.

When the Klondike boom was first started Smith told his friends in this city that he was going up there and start the largest gambling-house in the region. He has sent up to Dawson every device known to the gambling fraternity, including craps, keno, stud poker, roulette, chuck-a-luck, faro, wheel of fortune and other games known to those with sporting proclivities.

It is understood that Smith will have one of the most complete establishments of its kind ever started, and that it will be, as it is intended to be, a second Casino as long as Dawson remains a rival of Monte Carlo.

St. Louis Republic, January 3, 1898

Dawson, Canada
 March 10, 2011
August 7, 2011 
January 17, 2012

Dawson City, Canada: pages 432, 441, 449, 451, 456, 466, 472-73, 479, 483, 493, 495, 498, 508, 512-13, 524, 552, 583-84, 586-87, 590-91.

"Better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie."
—Russian proverb


1712: A slave revolt breaks out in New York City.
1798: The territory of Mississippi is organized.
1857: Snow falls in every state of the Union in a late-season freeze. In Houston, Texas the temperature drops to 21 degrees Fahrenheit.
1862: Union General Ulysses Grant defeats Confederate troops at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
1864: The first known camel race in America is held in Sacramento, California.
1867: Major General Winfield Hancock arrives at Fort Larned, Kansas for a conference with the local Indian chiefs. He is organizing a 1,400-soldier campaign against the southern Plains Indian tribes. Hancock's chief field commander is Lieutenant Colonel George Custer.
1874: A stagecoach robbery near Austin, Texas is attributed to the James-Younger outlaw gang.
1879: Soldiers surprise the camp of outlaws Bill Campbell and Jesse Evans near Dowlin's Mill, New Mexico Territory. The men escape but the soldiers capture an army deserter going by the alias of “Texas Jack.”
1882: The Tombstone, Arizona Nugget reports that Turkey Creek Jack Johnson is riding with Wyatt Earp's gang. Johnson has a $2,500 bounty for his capture.
1888: P.F. Collier begins publishing Collier’s, a weekly periodical.
1889: The Cheyenne, Wyoming Weekly Mail publishes its harshest attack on Jim Avrill and Cattle Kate. The editorial causes gunman Frank Canton to insist that Averill and his prostitute partner be eradicated. Nearly four months later, on July 20, 1889 they are hung.
1892: Soapy Smith sells the Orleans Club in Creede, Colorado. Two months later it burns to the ground.
1892: Lou Blonger’s gaming house at 1741 Larimer, is shut down because a “systematic bunco game was being carried on at this joint, and that the unwary were being roped in by the wholesale.”
1898: Outlaw Richard “Little Dick” West is shot and killed while resisting arrest at the Arnett Ranch near Guthrie Oklahoma Territory. West was a member of the Dalton and Doolin outlaw gangs in the early 1890s. 

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