Generations sing in the Yule season in Skagway, 2005. Jeff Brady

Skagway in December 1905

By Catherine H. Spude

If you think Skagway has changed in a hundred years, think again. Things don’t alter much once the summer folks and the tourists leave. You know who the real Skagwayans are, the ones who stick around for Christmas. Yeah, they might leave right afterwards for a month or so, but then they come back. Ya’ can’t stay away if you really love this place.
Just like today, Skagway loved to bowl. Tuck Flaharty, then a railroad laborer, later the owner of the Board of Trade Saloon, along with his buddies George Simenstand, a watchmaker for Perry Kern, and C. S. Barnes, the railroad conductor, challenged James Barrager, the Chief Clerk of White Pass, and Eugene Murphy, agent for the Pacific Coast Company, to the Kern Bowling Trophy at the Elks Hall for a month-long competition. Tuck and his partners won the trophy.
The Ladies of the Macabees, a prominent social organization started by Maggie Keelar when the Women’s Christian Temperance Union fell apart in 1902, elected Anna Stinebaugh, Edith Feero, Ethel Feero and Nellie Mulvihill as officers.
The Eagles elected their officials for the year, including Henry Freidenthal, one time bartender at the Mascot Saloon; Fred Ronkendorf, owner of the Red Onion Saloon building and proprietor of the Boss Bakery; Dr. J. P. Brawand, the White Pass physician; and Dr. Louis S. Keller, the town’s most prominent dentist, druggist, and later owner of The Daily Alaskan.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad announced a five percent increase in its annual dividend. The railroad grossed almost a million dollars in 1905. They had 6,849 passengers.
Mr. and Mrs. David N. Hukill committed the crime of mayhem by throwing hot water on C. L. Payne and beating him with a club while arguing over the ownership of a lot at 16th and Main. The case was dismissed when Hukill made a case that he built and owned the 16th St. Bridge and had a right to tear it down.
On Christmas Day, the tides reached above Sixth Avenue on the east side of town, two feet higher than November 1904, when they came to Third Avenue on Broadway.
The White Pass Athletic Club invited the entire town to a masquerade ball on January 1, 1906. They designated railroad engineer Ross Simpson as a doorkeeper in order to keep out the “objectionable characters.” The prize for the lady’s best fancy costume was a gold neck chain, a hand painted china plate went to the best ladies’ sustained character, the gentleman’s best fancy costume won a French briar pipe, and an umbrella was awarded to the best sustained character by a gentleman.
The eight saloons celebrated in their traditional fashion, with free meals and Tom and Jerry drinks, a hot concoction of eggs, milk, sugar and whiskey. Saloon owners Lee Guthrie at the Board of Trade and Chris Shea at the Pack Train didn’t take their wives out of town until mid-January, as did other prominent citizens, including temperance leaders Thomas Shorthill and J. D. Stinebaugh. Apparently, Skagway’s Christmas was worth sticking around for in 1905.