Dawson City is Incredible...

...authentic, welcoming, surreal, delightful, mind-blowing, intriguing. We are so dang excited to be here.

"Dawson City is the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush! An incredible community that has preserved its past, Dawson City invites you to turn back the pages of time and experience our rich living history. Meander the wooden boardwalks and visit national historic treasures."

This town is REAL. The dirt streets, wood boardwalks, picturesque storefronts... all real.

A feature I found absolutely fascinating was that on many of the historic buildings, there were window displays with museum items showcasing the function of that business. I loved the newspaper publishing house.
 
The gentleman I'm standing with is Arizona Charlie Meadows. Often called King of the Cowboys, he had traveled around the world as part of one Wild West show after another. He had ridden in Buffalo Bill’s world-famous event, and he had rubbed shoulders with the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Will Rogers.
It’s no surprise that he chose to follow the throng north to the Klondike when gold fever struck in 1897. Always a showman, Meadows preferred entertainment to mining, so he sold off his mining investments and ploughed the proceeds into the finest theatre in Dawson City, the venture for which Meadows is still remembered today- the building of the Grand Opera House. This was just one of many theater houses.

This is where the famous theater name Pantages started. Alexander Pantages came to Dawson for the gold. During his time here, he worked as a waiter and janitor, but was always restless and allergic to manual labor. Eventually he became business partner (and lover) to the saloon dancer and brothel-keeper "Klondike Kate" Rockwell, operating a small, but successful vaudeville and burlesque theatre, the Orpheum. And that's how his theater empire was born... right here.


This building represents a unique happening here. It is leaning because of the permafrost melting below it. Most of the buildings here are built on 'cribbing' to keep them off the ground. Obviously, this one wasn't.

While many of the buildings were left is a state of arrested decay, many appear as they did in their 1898 heyday.


People here wear many hats!


We had to pop by the Downtown Hotel to see a local happening- the Sourtoe Cocktail. Established in 1973, this strange phenomenon has become a Dawson City tradition and is exactly what is sounds like: an actual human toe that has been dehydrated and preserved in salt is used to garnish a drink of your choice. “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—but the lips have gotta touch the toe.” This toe made news recently when it was stolen. This was pretty gross but a part of the local flavor.
 
This Rig gets our award as the most unique. This is a German made bus. The windows at the back are 26 sleeping compartments. Yes, these tourist sleep in drawers. They are very happy about it, too.
I just had to take this photo out our bedroom window. It was 11:45 PM. We are finally and truly in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Wow. That said, it gave us many hours to enjoy this thoroughly enjoyable town.

"Between sunset and sunrise there was a soft sort of dusk
and the street lights came on,
but nobody needed them or noticed them.
The constant light was like endless caffeine."
-Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air

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3 comments:

Karen Booth said...

I don't think anyone should be allowed to park in front of the leaning building of Dawson! I mean really, couldn't they have parked somewhere else! The town was definitely a step back in time. I'm not sure if I think the "Rig" is cool or creepy. I'm having images of a Stephen King story and drawers of vampires.

Karen Booth said...

P.S. Forgot to mention the cool history of the Pantages.

Nick and Deb's Excellent Adventure said...

Super cool way to travel in that rig for sure. I love all the old buildings, so much history everywhere you look!

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