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Saturday June 29- Dawson City YT

I woke up at 5:00 when a neighbor made a lot of noise leaving. Since I was awake I thought I would see if the internet was better when no one else was up. Nope, still could not send even an email.

At 5:30, we had a thunder storm and hard rain. Unfortunately, the hard rain continued intermittently some of the day and the rest of the day we had lighter rain.

Since we had planned to take the Dawson City walk, we changed plans. Bob and I went into town to the Library to use the internet. We found that they did not open until 12 on Saturday. Grrrr! So we returned home. At 11, we ran back downtown to meet Margie and Wayne at the Farmers Market. That was a bust. No food at all, just one lady who had crochet and sewed items.

We went to the Visitor Center to purchase our Parks Canada tickets. Their programs are one for $6.30 or three for $13.70. They also have a five pack and unlimited package of tickets. We bought the 3 pack.

Next we went to the old Post Office, the historic building which was open today. It was a beautiful building. Built in 1899 to assist the miners with their mail.

Dawson City-Old Post Office with guide

Next we went to the Dawson City Museum. $7 senior rate, pp. They had a program starting right when we arrived, so we went into the “Saloon” for the Miners Trial. Prior to the RCMP arrival in the Territory, the miners held their own trials and the miners would vote on guilt and what the punishment would be. So we held our own trial. We found the guy in the blue jacket guilty and sentenced him to buying us a round of beer and banishment from Dawson City.

Dawson City Museum Minors Trial

After the trial, we wandered around the room, then left to go down the street to a little restaurant, called Belinda’s, in the Westmark Hotel. The lunch was good and relatively inexpensive, at least for the Yukon.

Margie and Wayne returned to the museum and Bob and I went to the Library to use the internet. We needed to pay bills, as we may not have any internet again until Fairbanks! The Library required that you take off your shoes prior to entry.Can’t say I blame them, it is really muddy on the streets. We each received 30 minutes. We were able to get on easily, but the internet was still slow. We were able to pay the credit cards, but  we were not able to pay the Verizon bill, as we could not get the website to come up.  It was just too slow, and that was with each of us taking some bills to pay!

We returned to the Museum and rushed through. We met up with Margie and Wayne at the Palace Grand Theater. Notice it is the same guide at both the Post Office and the Grand Theater. The guides work for Park Canada.

The Palace Grand Theater was built by Arizona Charlie. The picture( behind the guide) and name seemed familiar. He was one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West stars. He heard about the Klondike Gold Rush and dropped everything to come up to the Klondike. He was not there to mine for gold, he was there to mine the miners!

Our guide, Mariana

Within six months of arrival, the Palace was built. Of course, Charlie was the idea man and his wife managed to get it accomplished! They made a lot of money on this building. It was built, not as a cheap saloon type place, but more on the line of the fancy Paris theaters.

As you walk in there is a saloon. The inside, of the theater, held 600 people, mostly miners, who were dirty and smelly. It must have been interesting! As Dawson City changed, so did the clientele. The RCMP kept the town under tight control, which meant that families moved in and the city became less miners and more families. Once the next gold rush occurred, in Nome AK, the miners moved on, and families remained.

Dawson City-Grand Palace Saloon

The tour was fun.  Parks Canada realized that this was a great tourist destination and has really worked hard on getting Dawson City sites fixed up.

The guide took us up to the third balcony and had us sit in the box seats. She then gave us the history of the theater. On this floor there were the dressing rooms for the stars of the show. These were Vaudeville shows!

Dawson City-Stage at Grand Palace Theater

We were able to go through one of the dressing rooms. I think that the wall paper looks like ‘late Chinese restaurant!”.

Dressing room at Grand Palace Theater

Dressing room at Grand Palace Theater

The guide took us down to the second floor which was the ‘dress’ floor. This means that the seats in the center of the floor were saved for the “important’ folks, who dressed nicer. The higher up in the theater, the more it cost! Standing room was $1, the box seats $10.

Finally the guide took us to the stage. this next picture is looking out from the stage. Note the top box above the British flags. That was Arizona Charley’s box. He would sit there and watch the shows. If he thought the act was boring, he would stop the show and come down to the stage to do his sharp shooting act. He would shoot at something in his wife’s hand. This lasted until he shot off the tip of his wife’s finger.

Notice the ‘dress’ area in the center of the second floor. The acoustics in the theater are excellent. While on stage, out guide divided us into three groups and had us sing.

View from stage at Grand Palace Theater

Behind the stage at the Grand Palace Theater. Then we went backstage( above). In 1962,, Bert Lahr headlined in “Roxy” here, and he signed under the steps in the back.  Below is the autograph.

Bert Lahr autograph under stairs at Grand Palace Theater

We left the tour in the lobby and headed to the Commissioner’s Residence. Dawson City was once the capitol of the Yukon, and the Commissioner lived in town. The building is very pretty. The view from the upstairs balcony of the river is awesome!

Dawson City-Commissioners Residence

We watched a movie on Mrs. Black, one of the wife’s of a Commissioner, who then herself became an elected official, when  her husband could not complete his term.

She thought the house should reflect the people of the Yukon, hence the Moose on the wall. she was known as the Queen of the Yukon.  After the movie, we returned to the first floor balcony and one of the guides, Andrew, did a presentation on the RCMP.

Currently, there are only four RCMP in Dawson, but there were over 100 in 1898-1899. Their job description included everything you can think of… they were the dentists, nurse, doctors, judges, police, mailmen, etc. For this they made a whopping $1.50 per day, 14 hour days, 365 days a year! As judges, they sentenced people for crimes. The sentence would be to chop wood to keep the Mounties warm, so that they did not have to chop their own wood!

Commissioners Residence Dawson City-

We left there and returned home for dinner. Wayne had made a very nice fish chowder, and we ate dinner with them. At 7:30, we left to go to Diamond Tooth Gerties Saloon. ($10, a one time free for the season). This is a gambling hall. They have all the normal gambling games. This is a non-profit  with all the profits going to the town.  We were there for the 8:30 show, which lasted 1/2 hour and was pretty good! The wine was $8, drinks $7.50, beer $7.

Dawson City-

Below is the mural in the saloon.

Drop behing curtain at Grand Palace Theater

Below :  Bob, Margie and Wayne. We sat with a German couple, whose English was not great and who were not interested in talking. There were two seats left at the table, and a couple from the same RV park joined us. We had a great conversation with them.  

Bob, Margie and Wayne

Diamond Tooth Gertie

Above is Diamond Tooth Gertie, or at least the gal who played the part. She had a great voice.

Dancing girls, Diamond Tooth Geties


Girls at Diamond Tooth Gerties


Above, they had pulled these men out of the audience and had them dancing with the girls. Below, they had the guys take off the garter on the two girls. This guy looks too happy and the gal really knew how to smile, even with this old geezer taking off the garter!


Finally, here is Bob with all of them! The actresses and the dancing gals were not prostitutes, but they had a lot of them in Dawson City.  More on that tomorrow.

Bob with the girls

Here was Bob with the gals. We returned home and went to bed, exhausted!

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