Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Skagway – A Family Connection

Skagway from Viewpoint on Dyea Road

Four Cruise Ships in port today = 7,000+ people out on the streets of two which normally holds around 1,000 people.  So we waited to visit the city area, and went on a excursion outside of town.  Which means we did one of two things…we either headed back up highway 98, or we went on the road to Dyea.

Skagway from Viewpoint on Dyea Road
Tuesdays and Thursdays are the busy Cruise Ship days in Skagway.  On Sunday when we got here there was only one…but that one still filled the streets of Skagway.  The picture on the left was taken around 9 pm, one ship had left, a second ship can be seen out headed out to the Chilkoot Inlet.  The other white ship is just starting to back out.

Skagway from Viewpoint on Dyea Road    Skagway from Viewpoint on Dyea Road

On the way to Dyea, we found a nice overlook to get these pictures of Skagway and of the harbor.  It is a popular stop for the tour bus.

Skagway Harbor     Cruise Ship leaving Skagway

Before heading back to the overlook around 9 pm, I went to the harbor area where I saw where one ship was backing out.  That’s when the idea of viewing the ship out in the inlet from the overlook might be a good place to get a shot.

Inlet between Skagway and Dyea Alaska

On our way to Dyea earlier in the day, we got a real good shot of this inlet.  Back in 1898 the ship Canada was damaged in a storm, abandoned, and ended up beached at the bottom of this inlet.  They say that you can still see some of the ship during low tide…but it must not have been low tide enough for us to see them.

Where the pier once stood, Dyea Alaska

As you drive the road to Dyea, there is a turn out where you can see where the pier was located.  But we did not stop there, we drove out to where the pier was once located.

Where the pier once stood, Dyea Alaska

For about 4 years, Dyea was a thriving prospector’s town.  A pier shot out into the water from around the spot this picture was taken.  Many of the gold seekers came to Skagway and either went over the long, yet easier White Pass, or they to a ferry to Dyea about 9 miles away, and headed up the steeper, yet shorter, Chilkoot Trail.  Everyone was headed towards Dawson City, way up in the Yukon.  In the end, less than 1 out of 10 prospectors found any gold…for most it was a bust, unless you were one of suppliers, or trail leaders who got paid by all.

Golden North Hotel, Skagway

The Golden North Hotel was built by the Klondike Trading Company in 1898, and  was originally a two story building.  After the gold rush, George Dedman and a business partner purchased the building. It was moved to its present location in 1908. At that time the third story and dome were added and the building began operating as a hotel.  And this is where my “Family Connection” comes in.  George Dedman married Clara Broughton in 1883 in Clackamas, Oregon.  Clara’s younger sister by 10 years married Charles H. Burdick, the railroad conductor…the same one who was given a pocket watch upon retirement from the Railroad, the watch my parents gave to me when I got a Masters degree, and the one I gave my oldest son Michael back in April because he got his Masters degree from Cal Berkeley recently. 

Dedman's, Skagway

Yes, there are still some of the Dedman family here in Skagway.  George and Clara’s Great-great Granddaughter runs this business, just down the street from the Golden North Hotel, which is now a bunch of tourist shops. 

Betsy's framing buisness

Betsy, the Great Granddaughter, operates a framing business out of this location.  Today I met Betsy, introduced myself, gave her a handwritten relationship chart and my address, phone and email address.  She is interested in the family connection, and I hope she will contact me in the fall or winter so I can supply her with more information.  But this is the busy season, and I did not take up too much of her time.

Skagway Public Library

This is the Skagway Public Library, and it is a popular spot for free Internet when the ships are in harbor…and by the RVers who have come to town too.  The Internet is not the fastest, but it works…but gets overloaded by the crowds at times.

Snow plow train engine

Over near the docks they have these older train engines and cars on display.  This one with the blades was used to cut a path through the snow.

Arctic Brotherhood Building

This is one of the most photographed buildings in Alaska.  It is the Arctic Brotherhood building #1, which opened in 1899.  That is drift wood which has been attached to the outside of the building.

Arctic Brotherhood Building

Skagway has a bunch of interesting buildings.  I find that I like driving through town after 5 pm when many of the cruise ship tourist have headed back to the ship.  We have sure enjoyed our visit here, but tomorrow we head back to Whitehorse and the Alaskan Highway. 


  1. Replies
    1. Made the same comment to Marcia, although the long winter nights might make me hibernate.


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