Red Onion Saloon

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Comments (2)

Timothy K on January 16, 2010

This is one of the most famous brothels in North America

Timothy K on September 24, 2011

"**The Red Onion Saloon, now a National Historic Building, was Skagway’s most exclusive bordello. Built in 1897 with planks cut by Captain William Moore, the founder of Skagway, the Red Onion Saloon opened for business in 1898. The saloon served alcohol on the first floor while the upper floor satisfied more than the prospectors thirst. The brothel consisted of ten tiny cubicles, called cribs, each ten foot by ten foot with three exits, one into the hallway and one into each of the adjoining rooms. Each room also had a hole in the floor which connected to the cash register in the bar by means of a copper tube.

In order to keep track of which girls were busy, the bartender kept ten dolls on the back bar, one for each of the girls in each of the rooms. When a girl was with a customer, her doll was laid on its back. When she sent her money down the tube, the doll was returned to the upright position signaling to the waiting prospectors that she was ready for business. The bartender safeguarded the girl’s earnings, usually $5.00, preferably in gold. The girls then utilized the loose floorboards to hide nuggets and private tips.

Because the rooms were divided by single planks toe-nailed into the ceiling and floor not much sound-proofing was provided. To decorate their cribs, the women stretched linen across the rough planks, then glued wall paper to the cloth. Remnants of the original wall papers still cling to those planks. Some of the girls who worked in Skagway were Birdie Ash, Big Dessie, Popcorn Lil, the Oregon Mare, Babe Davenport, Pea Hull Annie, Kitty Faith, the Belle of Skagway and Klondike Kate.**"

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 16, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Timothy K
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX Optio 550
    • Taken on 2007/08/14 21:16:27
    • Exposure: 0.002s (1/606)
    • Focal Length: 17.40mm
    • F/Stop: f/5.600
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • Flash fired