Arctic Brotherhood Hall 1899 -- Skagway Historic District and White Pass
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Tygress
N 59° 27.240 W 135° 19.085
8V E 481966 N 6590650
Quick Description: “The most photographed building in Alaska.” Built in 1899 as headquarters for arctic brotherhood Camp Skagway No. 1. The facade, constructed a year later, consists of more than 8,800 pieces of driftwood collected from local tidal flats.
Location: Alaska, United States
Date Posted: 5/20/2010 11:05:09 AM
Waymark Code: WM8W8V
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 43

Long Description:
Now Skagway don't lack for local color
Bright as a petticoat, some would say
But this ol' "Camp Skagway #1"
Puts a new twist on the word: Parquet
Organic describes it, a mosaic facade
Of driftwood picked up off the shore
You can only pause, staring, agog
Look some and then look there some more!

To call this a "visually interesting building" is a criminal understatement. The facade (added a year after the original building was built) is fashioned from more than 8,800 pieces of driftwood collected from local tidal flats. Inside is the Trail of '98 Museum, which features Native artifacts and wonderful relics of the gold rush, including gambling paraphernalia from the old Board of Trade Saloon.

They call it "the most photographed building in Alaska." No wondering why!

National Park Service - Historical Register Property 'Lessons' (visit link)

The Arctic Brotherhood Hall, an example of rustic architecture, was built in 1899 for the Fraternal Order of the Arctic Brotherhood. Eleven men organized the fraternity on February 26, 1899, while en route from Seattle to Skagway. The organization was formed to provide mutual assistance, friendship, and social interaction in the northern communities.

(visit link)
NFS Form 10-900 USDI/NPS NRHP Registration Form (Rev. 8-86) OMB No. 1024-0018

… CONTRIBUTING RESOURCES: I. BUILDINGS: A total of 167 buildings are listed. The numbers on the descriptive list are illustrated on Map B (2 sheets), entitled "Skagway and White Pass Historic District."

Dozens of buildings from when Skagway was the "Metropolis" of Alaska are still standing. Among these are McCabe College (now city hall), Moore Office Building, St. James Hotel, Mascot Saloon, Seattle Hotel, Golden North Hotel, and the Arctic Brotherhood Hall. 14

309. Arctic Brotherhood Hall, 1899. Two-story frame fraternal hall, gable roof, stick and driftwood checkerboard-pattern veneer nailed on east facade. Veneer contains high degree of architectural detailing, including balcony, frieze, cornice, broken pediment and recessed doors flanked by fluted pilasters. Drop siding on remaining facades, shed addition.

(visit link)

National Park Service: KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH SKAGWAY, DISTRICT OF ALASKA —1884-1912: Building the Gateway to the Klondike Historical and Preservation Data
(visit link)
…the first years of the new century were filled with hope. The regular salaries of 100 to 200 troops stationed at Camp Skagway, on Sixth Avenue, paid for drinks at the town's saloons and dance halls. The lumber mill supplied local needs and nearby contracts. The Methodists built the granite McCabe College. When the college failed, the building became the federal court house for Alaska's First Judicial District. The White Pass & Yukon Route railroad continued to improve its properties; they extended and leased Moore's wharf and built more rolling stock, thus enabling the company to supply the needs of new railroads in the interior mining districts. Tourists also discovered the area; steamship companies built offices along lower Broadway to accommodate both the tourists and the gold-toting sourdoughs returning from Dawson. On the strength of these income sources, Skagway experienced several years of prosperity. It was a modern city with fine hotels, electric lights, water works, a telephone system, and growing residential districts. The city's government was strengthened by federal legislation, formulated in 1899, which regulated gambling, saloons, and, more importantly, gave the local government power to tax and collect license fees. With these revenues, funds went into further city improvements: a new water system, street grading and lighting, and a new city hall and jail. The city government was able to control vice and move the brothels into one district along Seventh Avenue. Congregations built substantial churches, all the fraternal orders built halls, and the Arctic Brotherhood formed its first "camp" in Skagway. The Twelfth Avenue School was the finest in the District of Alaska when it opened in 1902. That year, John G. Price — Alaska's unofficial delegate to Congress (sent by Skagway residents) — returned from Washington, D.C., with news that President Roosevelt looked favorably on the creation of a territorial government. Also, a new agency of the U.S. Army, the Alaska Road Commission, would select Skagway as its headquarters.

(skipping forward)

PHASE III Skagway, A Mature Railroad Town, 1899 to 1905 (visit link)
The third phase began when the rails reached from the ocean to the headwaters of the Yukon River in 1899 — the sign that Skagway had succeeded in its ambition to be the dominant gateway to the interior. It is best known as a period of sturdier buildings, of churches and fine residences, of a new morality, and of town pride. Beginning about 1899 and continuing through the next decade, building styles became more elaborate and complex. This change was greatly facilitated by the establishment of scheduled steamer service to Puget Sound cities and by the development of the White Pass & Yukon Route transportation system. Larger and heavier tools, materials, and building elements became available. Plate glass windows replaced multi-pane display windows. Pressed metal ornamental details appeared on facades. Imported machinery and the arrival of skilled craftsmen and architects improved the sophistication of construction. Many of the structures built at this time were multi-storied, well constructed, and elegantly detailed. Garish signs were replaced by appealing facades; canvas awnings appeared, as did bay windows and electric display lights. Rustic details, such as those on the Arctic Brotherhood Hall and Pantheon Saloon, added a representative touch of Alaskan rustic rugged individualism, but they still fit into the verticality and symmetry of Skagway's Victorian architecture. During this third phase, city and public efforts strived for permanence. City ordinances changed the streetscape by requiring all sidewalks to be on one level and by mandating brick chimneys. The Methodists built the only granite structure: the two-story McCabe College, one of Alaska's first institutions of higher education.



The Arctic Brotherhood Hall was the first hall built for the fraternal order of the Arctic Brotherhood, formed during the Klondike gold rush in February of 1899. The hall was erected between June and August of 1899, and in 1900 the brothers added a facade of driftwood and sticks shaped into a mosaic of letters, gold pan, and square patterns — a unique example of Victorian rustic architecture. The Brotherhood's membership declined as Skagway's economy waned. In July 1923 President Warren Gamaliel Harding became the last initiated member of Camp Skagway Number 1, Arctic Brotherhood. A B Hall, now owned by the City of Skagway, retains its original exterior appearance. The interior paint schemes were changed, a stairway was removed, and the furnishings were moved to the city museum.

NOTE!!!! This is not the only waymark for this building. Well, this much 'character' deserves plenty of recognition! It is also a Virtual Geocache. Be sure to click on Nearest Waymarks!
Name of Historic District (as listed on the NRHP): Skagway Historic District and White Pass

Link to page with the Historic District: [Web Link]

NRHP Historic District Waymark (Optional): [Web Link]

mid-block, Broadway between 2nd & 3rd Avenues * Skagway, Alaska

How did you determine the building to be a contributing structure?: Narrative found on the internet (Link provided below)

Optional link to narrative or database: [Web Link]

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