May 3, 2016

I was at the opening dedication of Jeff. Smith's Parlor...sort of.

Long time friends
l to r: Matthew Ruff, Stephanie Garcia, Jeff Brady, Allison Hays,
Jon Baldwin,
Arlo Ehly, Katelyn Lauria, and Ashleigh Ricci
That's me in the frame
Photo by Donna Clayson
(Click image to enlarge)

 was there, I tell ya!
 Dedication opening of Jeff. Smith's Parlor. 

My good friend Donna Clayson from Whitehorse, Canada and I had planned to finally meet in Skagway for the opening dedication of Jeff. Smith's Parlor. She wanted me to meet 94-year-old Tom Clark, the great-grandson of John Douglas Stewart, the miner robbed by the Soap Gang, which directly led to Soapy's demise. But alas, life always seems to get in the way and I found myself waiting for a personal matter to end before I could free my finances for such a trip. That personal matter should have ended in December of 2015, but here I am May 2016 and still waiting. As a counter measure, Donna worked with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and the City of Skagway to see if there was anything they could do, but times are tight all over. Donna decided that I was going to the dedication ceremony, one way or another. That another meant bringing me to Skagway, in spirit, via a framed photograph. I was naturally disappointed in not being able to attend, but amazingly, seeing people holding my photograph as Donna snapped photos, really helped in making me feel like I was a part of the celebration. It warmed my heart. I owe Donna a great deal of gratitude for bringing me to Skagway.

The following day she sent me the photographs in the following email.      

Hi Jeff

Attached are photos of the dedication from yesterday in Skagway (April 30 2016).

It was a cold, raining, windy day but the weather did not detract from the wonderful job the Parks did in bringing in this very special day. There was a crowd huddled under the tent to listen to the speeches. Everyone signed up for a tour that started at 5:00 to 9:00 pm, only around 8 or so at a time. The very informative lady from Parks toured us through 3 rooms full of memorabilia including the last room that held a Sitka deer (not really, just a white tail or such with its legs shortened), two moose tangled but the horns did not belong to those moose. The taxidermist did a wonderful job. There was also a strange looking wolf and a moose skull with growths on the antlers and had lit up eyes. Lol

After the speeches and during the tours the Red Onion hosted a party atmosphere with music and lots of food for all.

There is a photo of Tom Clark, great-grandson of Soapy's last victim, J. D. Stewart.

As you can see in the photos your framed picture was very prominent throughout.

There was also an argument after the speeches between 'Soapy' and 'Frank Reid' culminating in both of them being 'shot'. I am waiting for Ben Hayes to get me the names of those involved and will send them once I get them.

Ben Hayes was very helpful. As well, I had numerous people ask me whose photo I was carrying. I had your name and relationship to Soapy written under your photo and pretty much everyone that was there now knows what you look like.

Ben would like you to keep in touch and let him know when you will be visiting. He will give you a personal tour of the parlor.

It was a wonderful day Jeff. Ben was saying he wished you had been there but not enough time to organize it. Well, my opinion? M-m-m-m, okay then.

All the best Jeff, Donna

Following for the photographs Donna took. Click the images to enlarge them for better viewing.

The dedication ceremony
Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park
Photo by Donna Clayson 
Photo by Donna Clayson

"Ladies" of Skagway
attempt to lure-in Jesse Murphy
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy Smith (Jon Baldwin)
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy's demise
(Jon Baldwin)
Photo by Donna Clayson
Superintendent Mike Tranel
Photo by Donna Clayson

Frank Reid's wounding
(Jeff Brady)
Photo by Donna Clayson
Jeff Brady
Photo by Donna Clayson

Soapy, Frank, Jesse
Photo by Donna Clayson
Leaving Reid to center stage
Photo by Donna Clayson

Good friends and I
Photo by Donna Clayson
Soapy and Ranger Ben Hayes
Inside the Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Martin Itjen's
Woman in the restroom
Photo by Donna Clayson
Gambling machines
Inside Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Faro and wheel of fortune
Inside Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson
Locked Horns
Battling Moose
Photo by Donna Clayson

Side lot of Jeff Smith's Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Side lot.
At last mention
Martin Itjen's "street
car" will go on display
in this lot.
Photo by Donna Clayson

Tom Clark
of John Stewart

Photo by Donna Clayson
Rangers and I
Jeff Smith's Parlor
Photo by Donna Clayson

Thank you very much Donna for allowing me to "be there!"

Donna Clayson framed me!
photo by Bob Cameron
(Click image to enlarge)

To round out the series of photographs Donna Clayson took, I am adding a few that Whitehorse author Bob Cameron tookaldwin as Soapy and Matt as Jesse Murphy. But the real star of the day was 93-year-old Tom Clark, the grandson of JD Stewart, the last man robbed by Soapy Smith's gang. Jeff Brady, of the Skagway News interviewed Tom Clark, the great-grandson of John Douglas Stewart, the miner that fell victim to the Soap Gang, which directly led to the shootout on Juneau Wharf. I will publish a link to that story and interview when it becomes public. Thanks to Bob for arranging the interview and bringing Tom Clark down to Skagway for the big event.

Tom Clark and Soapy Smith
Inside the Parlor
Photo by Bob Cameron
The dedication
Photo by Bob Cameron

Shootout on 2nd Avenue
Jeff Brady and the Day's of '98
recreate Soapy's demise
complete with Jesse Murphy's
killing of Soapy.
Photo by Bob Cameron
Day's of '98
Photo by Bob Cameron

Tamar Harrison and Tom Clark
at the Red Onion Saloon

Photo by Bob Cameron
Jeff Brady and the cast of
Days of '98
At Soapy's bar in the Parlor
Photo by Klondike Gold
Rush National Historic Park

Soapy Smith
A unique shot

Photo by Sean Daniels

Skagway's fourth grade
received the first official
public tour
Photo by Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park

Matthew Ruff as Jesse Murphy
The man who actually killed Soapy
Great to see my research accepted.
Photo by Donna Clason

Inside the Parlor

Photo by Klondike Gold Rush
National Historic Park

Soapy could sell aluminum siding to people with brick homes.
—Glenn Hester


1568: French forces in Florida kill hundreds of Spanish soldiers and civilians.
1802: Washington, the District of Columbia, is incorporated.
1855: Macon Allen is the first black-American to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts.
1873: Manuel Fernandez is the first in Arizona territory to be legally executed, for the murder of Mike McCartney, a Yuma store keeper.
1882: President Chester Arthur threatens martial law due to lawlessness in Cochise County, Arizona Territory.
1888: Florence, Arizona Sheriff Peter Gabriel, shoots and kills Joe Phy, an ex-deputy. Both men had been drinking in a saloon previous to the fight. Although wounded in the groin and chest, Gabriel recovers and is exonerated on grounds of self-defense.
1888: Thomas Edison organizes the Edison Phonograph Works.
1889: Thirty Denver, Colorado policemen raid the cities red-light district with 110 warrants.

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