Skagway, Alaska in the late 1890s was sure a rowdy place alright!
It was seethin' with humanity a-raisin' hell all through the day and night!
'Twas the gateway to Chilkoot Pass beyond which lay Klondike gold!
Why! You could scoop up nuggets by the bushel, or so it was told!
Jefferson Randolph 'Soapy' Smith 'owned' the town and was so very brash.
He came up with nefarious schemes to relieve newcomers of their cash!
Madame Gertie arrived with her soiled doves and set up houses of ill repute.
Among the ladies were Ethel the Moose, Mollie Fewclothes and Maude the Mute!
Tinklin' pianos and screechin' fiddles played in saloons invitin' boozers in.
Hordes of horses whinnied, dogs howled and mules brayed addin' to the din!
The Home of Hooch, Red Onion and Mangy Dog saloons flung open their doors,
To sate the thirsty sots before they tried their luck at diggin' by the scores!
Hawkeye Blevins, notorious gambler, grabbed a table at the Hungry Pub Saloon,
And with slight of hand relieved many gullible rubes of their moolah all too soon!
Even preachers tossed aside Bibles and grabbed shovels to join the endless queue,
To foolishly struggle up Chilkoot Pass in the dead of winter with that motley crew!
A few hardy stampeders found their Eldorado but many more came to naught!
Death, disillusionment and starvation stymied the quest for which they sought.
Many a hapless feller lies beneath that frigid land never more to roam.
Infamous Soapy Smith lies at rest in Skagway Cemetery, there, his final home!
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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