The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska

The moms are discussing the Red Onion Saloon and a “quickie” for the brothel.   What?   A quickie at a brothel?   That does not sound good.   But, we are going to the Red Onion Saloon.

Red Onion Saloon

Now we ducks see the sign for a “quickie” brothel tour.   In the gold rush days, Diamond Lil Davenport, was the owner and madam of the Red Onion.   It was a classy bar and brothel.   OK.   We are ready for our tour.   Here is our guide.

Our guide. Stairway to Heaven

She is standing on the Stairway to Heaven and we will follow her.   This is the small room where one of the working girls lived.

Small room for working girl

A customer would enter the Red Onion and choose a doll.   The dolls resembled the working girls.   Dolls wore similar clothes, same hair and eye color and resembled the live girls.   When chosen, the doll would be turned around, to indicate the lady was no longer available at the time.   The gentleman was escorted to her room and the business transaction occurred.   When they were finished and the time was expired, the girl would drop the gold coins through a hole in the floor.   The noise of the arriving coins told the bartender that the lady was once again available.   The doll was turned around and the process began again.   The gentlemen were only allowed on the upper floor if escorted by an employee or in the room with the lady.

Working uniform

Perhaps this was a working girl’s uniform?  But look at this dress.

White satin dress.

A beautiful white satin dress.   After 100 years it is still beautiful.   This is the largest room.

Larger room for Diamond Lil

Diamond Lil conducted her business here.   Diamond Lil was born in 1881 in Butte, Montana.   She only entertained obviously rich clients who could pay handsomely for what she offered.   She also had three requirements for her clients.   First they had to have a clean bill of health from a doctor.   Second, they had to show financial ability to pay.   Third, and perhaps the most unusual, they had to provide a reference.   A reference???   Diamond Lil stood about 6 feet tall and had a diamond in her front tooth.   This photo of Diamond Lil was displayed at the Red Onion.

Diamond Lil Davenport

Perhaps she is not today’s vision of a sex goddess, but she was very much in demand during the gold rush days in Skagway.   Diamond Lil died June, 1975 in Yakima, Washington at the age of 93.   Leaving the Red Onion, we headed toward the train station, and saw this on the way.

Plow for train

A train engine and this huge snow plow.   The mountains between Skagway and Whitehorse receive several feet of snow every winter, so clearing the train tracks is a necessity.

Plowing ahead

This sign explains a little of the plowing process and the amount of snow to be removed.   The White Pass and Yukon Route train station in Skagway is still in use.

Train Station

The train no longer travels between Skagway and Whitehorse, but shorter rides are available for tourists.

Train for today’s tourists

We rode this tourist train about 20 years ago, when we cruised the Inside Passage of Alaska.  It is fun and interesting, but Chloe was not welcomed on the train, so we didn’t ride it again.   However, if you are in Skagway, we think you would enjoy this train.   Skagway was developed as a mining town, so we admired these hopeful prospectors.

Hoping to get rich

This was a hard life, but many dreamed of riches and tried gold mining.

Prospector and his dog

This prospector and his dog seemed to stop for a rest.   Back to main street, even the tourist shops reflect the importance of the train.

Train is important in Skagway’s history

And we enjoyed shopping in the many jewelry and gift shops.   We did bring some items home also.   Skagway is a great town.   We hope you visit some time.