| Pullen House|
Ruins of a Frontier Legacy
Skagway is famously known as the 22 x 4 block city. This tiny town was built during the Klondike Gold Rush as an entry point to the gold fields further north. After the boom, families remained in Skagway and began building the small community that still exists to this day. Over the years, Skagway’s deep water harbor has brought industry to the town, and now tourism. People from all over the world and from all walks of life have spent time in town, creating all kinds of fascinating stories and experiences. In the end, each of Skagway’s 22 x 4 blocks has a unique building, function, and history.
6th and Spring Street block is unique in the sense that no visible structure can be seen. Sitting directly next to City Hall, nestled next to the mountain, the block is wildly overgrown. Tall brush and grass reach higher than the eye can see. If you walk the perimeter of the brush you can find tunnels through the overgrowth, trails forged by the local kids that use the area for hide and seek. Follow along the brush trails and you will eventually pop out into a cleared area surrounded by brush and invisible from the rest of the city.
Inside of this clearing sits a single stone chimney. The stones are held together by some kind of plaster or concrete.
The chimney hearth reads PULLEN, a mosaic of river stones.
Noises from the tour buses on the other side of the brush are muffled and the clearing sits quietly. The chimney and a few hard stone pieces are all that remains of the original Pullen House, the most luxurious hotel in Alaska at the turn of the century.
The original building was designed by Captain William Moore sometime between 1897-1899. As Moore aged, and the Gold Rush boom slowed, the building was sold to Harriet Pullen. Harriet was a local woman who had been living in Moore’s house as a boarding agent. She had also worked several jobs with Moore upon first moving to Skagway.
Pullen transformed the giant house into a luxury hotel, complete with electricity and hot baths. The hotel served as a tourist destination and where Harriet would tell stories of the Gold Rush and Alaska adventurers. Harriet, herself, is credited with some of the earliest tourism work done in Skagway, an industry that the town now relies on.
This frontier woman, who arrived in Skagway right as the Gold Rush began, owned and operated the Pullen House Hotel until her death in 1947. At her request, she was buried behind her property, directly next to the mountain side.
At some point in the early 1990s, the property was destroyed. Since then, the National Park Service has placed a small informational sign on the outside of the brush, in front of the original entrance. Some tourists may notice the sign as they wait while their children play on the playground/restroom area there. Pullen’s descendents still live in town, and tend to the grave behind the property.
Whatever reasons that led to 6th and Spring Street’s destructive fate, seemed to infect the adjacent block of 7th and Spring Street. This block is also heavily overgrown. Streams cut through the block, and surround it on all sides.
If you can hop the stream, and wriggle your way through the brush, there are several abandoned structures sitting on the block.
Many appear to be old wooden homes, left to rot in the brush. Most of the homes are beginning to fall in on themselves.
Machinery, pipes, and other refuse lay scattered in the brush.
The famous 22 x 4 block city of Skagway was developed due to the Klondike Gold Rush boom, when thousands of men and women chasing the luxury commodity of gold rowed ashore and set up camp. Since then, the town has adapted to shifting markets and continues to grow. However, the geographic placement of the town creates an intense barrier to building outside of the 22 x 4 block framework. Despite this complication, the town of Skagway receives new long term residents each year. This makes land in Skagway incredibly scarce, and a luxurious commodity of its own. It is fascinating the the entire town has left the block of Pullen’s House vacant, even though the building itself has been destroyed. Perhaps it is in memoriam for Harriet herself, and the foundational work she did in early Skagway. I’d like to think of it that way.
Sources used in research - here.
|Very cool. I have always loved seeing the free standing fireplace and chimney like that. |
Let's Go Places
|becckeez, Thank You taking the time to document and tell this story.|
An interesting and excellently done thread
Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in.
|Posted by blackhawk|
becckeez, Thank You taking the time to document and tell this story.
An interesting and excellently done thread
Thank you blackhawk ;D
|Love the history aspect of this post. It's always nice to see people take the time to document a historical place like this. The old pictures really take this over the top, great work! |
Add a poll to this thread
This thread is one of your Favourites. Click to make normal.Click to make this thread a Favourite.
|This thread is currently Public. Anyone, including search engines, may see it. |
Powered by AvBoard AvBoard version 1.5 alpha
Page Generated In: 64 ms