JEFF SMITH'S PARLOR
Skagway, Alaska 1899.
Oh, to be able to go back in time and walk down this street. - Jeff Smith
A great photograph by Eric Hegg, of Holly Street (now 6th Street) looking west from Broadway. In 1897-98 Holly was the main business street in town. This was taken in 1899, about a year after Soapy Smith was shot dead. His saloon, Jeff Smith's Parlor is now Clancy's Cafe, owned by John and Frank Clancy, business partners of Soapy's, who were oddly let out of any vigilante actions against the Soap Gang, even though they were very involved. The old sign bracket can still be seen on the front of the building in this photo.
Also in the photo are the Hotel Mondamin, where Soapy lived (room #61), and where John D. Stewart stayed the night before he was robbed by the Soap Gang. According to personal accounts, Soapy also owned the small building in-between the Parlor and the Mondamin, which was used as a restaurant and gambling room. In this photo it is the Skaguay Oyster Parlor, under proprietorship of Frank Clancy.
Down the street is the People's Theater, where Deputy Marshal James Rowan was shot and killed by gambler John Fay January 31, 1898. The vigilante committee of 101 wanted to perform their own trial and punishment of the killer but Soapy did not want them to take over control of the town so he hid Fay until the US Marshall could come in from Sitka and make the legal arrest of Fay and take him to Juneau for trial. Although Soapy had ulterior motives, what he did was the "legal" law and order thing to do, as opposed to taking the law into their own hands. Hiding Fay caused a lot of mixed feelings among the residence of the town, but surely Soapy made numerous "law and order" speeches that worked in his favor. Fay has been accused of being one of the Soap Gang, but more likely, this was Soapy doing his part as a "fixer," no doubt receiving a nice monthly sum from most, of the gambling houses, for his efforts.
Across from the Mondamin was the Pack Train Saloon, which is rumored to have been in alliance with Soapy.
Mondamin Hotel: pages 461, 525-26.
He was sprawled out with his Stetson lying there, but nobody dared put his feet together or place his hands over his heart. They didn’t dare show sympathy for fear somebody would pull out a gun.
— Bobby Sheldon
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 537
1765: Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin and the concept of interchangeable parts, is born in Westboro, Massachusetts.
1776: During the American Revolution General George Washington moves his retreating army across the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.
1863: President Lincoln announces Reconstruction, a plan to punish the southern states for the Civil War.
1863: American boxer, John Heenan, is defeated by Tom King of England in the first world heavyweight championship.
1869: The first 32 prison cells of the Colorado State Penitentiary are completed in Canon City, Colorado Territory.
1874: An unknown gang of men stop and rob the Kansas Pacific Railroad train near Muncie, Kansas, of a reported $30,000 and personal effects from the passengers. William "Bud" McDaniel, an associate of the James-Younger gang, is arrested in Kansas City, but he escapes from jail and is killed shortly afterward.
1874: A Comanche Indian camp in the Mushaqua Valley of Texas is attacked by soldiers under Lieutenant Lewis Warrington. Two Indians are killed, one is wounded, and one taken prisoner.
1879: “Big Ed” Burns is arrested with three men for stealing a gold watch and chain. Burns eventually becomes a member of Soapy Smith Soap Gang in Denver. Burns stays with the gang until Soapy’s death in 1898.
1883: John Heath and four masked men rob the store of A. A. Castanada in Bisbee, Arizona. Shooting erupts and several townspeople are killed in what newspapers call the Bisbee Massacre. The robbers rode away with $3,000 but are eventually captured and lynched.
1886: The American Federation of Labor is founded during a convention of union leaders in Columbus, Ohio.