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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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July 26, 2001 Souvenir Album:

Skagway


Images (click images for larger view)

skagway docks

Skagway is a town given over almost entirely to tourism. Four massive cruise liners dwarf the much smaller Clipper Odyssey (center) in this view of the docks, with the airport in the foreground. A fifth giant cruise ship later in the day swelled the town's population to more than 8,000 people; the town's permanent population is less than 900. A century ago, during the Klondike gold rush, as many as 20,000 people lived Skagway, which was briefly Alaska's largest town. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

reid monument

The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park occupies much of modern Skagway, including historic buildings ranging from the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad Depot to the Pantheon Saloon. The Park Service also maintains the Gold Rush Cemetery outside of town, where you can find the graves of Frank H. Reid (the monument reads, "He gave his life for the Honor of Skagway"), and Jefferson R. Smith. A notorious but wealthy and powerful entrepreneur (widely regarded as a swindler), Smith was Grand Marshal of the Skagway Fourth of July celebration in 1898; four days later, Reid killed him in a gunfight. Reid, wounded in the battle, died a few weeks later on July 20, 1898, and grateful (not to mention fickle) citizens of Skagway raised this monument in his honor. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

brothel hut

This tiny one-room hut, so crammed with tourist-oriented gift items that they even cover the roof, was once a popular establishment of an entirely different nature. Not so long ago, visitors came to this "House of Negotiable Affection" to partake of one of the rarest commodities in the overwhelmingly male-dominated madness of the gold rush. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

skagway mainstreet

In the middle of a summer afternoon, Skagway's main street brims over with tourists. At the end of the street, a giant cruise liner blots out the view of the sea, and few visitors pause to see the glory of the mountains all around. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

skagway email

A century ago, Skagway visitors brought stray dogs and tired horses to town, hoping to use them for dog sleds and pack horses on their long journeys to the Yukon gold fields. Today, visitors bring cell phones and a fear of being out of touch with the "outside world." Cyber cafes have popped up to help visitors read their E-mail while they are busy vacationing from their E-mail. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

railway car

Easily the biggest attraction in town is the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. Originally built as a speculative venture by an English company hoping to cash in on the Klondike Gold Rush, the railroad paid for its construction costs in the first 18 months of operation. Today the railroad deliberately cultivates a 19th century look, except for the diesel locomotives which pull the trains. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

railway tunnel

Started in May 1898, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was an engineering marvel, crossing deep gorges and climbing the steep mountain sides to White Pass. By July 1899, the railroad had reached Bennett Lake in British Columbia, and pushed on to Whitehorse by July 1900. The gold rush was over then, but the railroad lives on, transporting tourists from Skagway to Bennett Lake, and then back to Skagway. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

railway hut

For those athletic souls who would rather walk the White Pass route, the way is marked by the debris left by the gold rush hordes of a century ago This old rail car was donated by the railroad as a hiker's shelter near the top of the pass. (Photo by Jonas K. Parker).

locomotive snowplow

Built during the 1930s, this massive rotary snowplow was used to help keep the tracks clear during the winter. It later fell into disuse, but was restored by the National Park Service and is on display in front of the WP&YRR train depot in Skagway. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).

Lynn Canal Light

Most of the day was filled with drizzle and light rain falling from overcast skies. After the expedition ship left Skagway and headed south, a band of sunlight opened up over the Lynn Canal lighthouse in the evening, just as dinner was being served. (Photo by Jonas K. Parker).


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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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