Yes, I was on vacation. I spent 10 days in Alaska, seeing the sights, cruising, traveling via: plane, bus, train, ship, bus, helicopter, bus, zipline, and bus.
One would expect me to go on and on about the mountains and vistas and the fab buffet on the ship and all the sights. No, I want to tell you about one of my highlights: I went to a brothel. Well, a Brothel Museum. Out of the twenty people I was traveling with, I was one of the first to sign up for the Brothel Museum tour. Go figure.
Yes, I was thrilled to discover that in Skagway–which was a boomtown during the Gold Rush, they sport (no pun intended) a Brothel Museum. Skagway itself is fascinating–a well preserved look at the Klondike Gold Rush. The gold rush made the town so rich, it had electricity a full year before New York City. The wonderful Victorian buildings are all still there–including the Red Onion Saloon, which had a brothel on the top floor.
The brothel has been pieced back together–with stuff found in the attics and items they’ve discovered squirreled away in the floorboards–to make it into a museum and of course, I queued right up for a tour. Always the historical wonk and research nut. I knew so much, the “madame” offered me a job.
I politely declined. Believe me, the life of a Skagway whore in the 1890s was no picnic. Here is a picture of the beds they worked from:
This is 3/4 of the size of a modern twin and was their “work place.” Not designed for a cozy night or comfort. They had 15 minutes with each client who had paid $5 for the privilege. That $5 went three ways–$2.50 for the madame, $1.25 for the bouncer, and $1.25 for the working girl. And they worked from 6pm to 6am.
The madame, who charged an exorbitant $1000 for a night of her favors had a little more room:
Then again, she was six feet tall and weighed in at 250 pounds.
And some people just go to Alaska for the scenery.