Skaguay’s Bank and Hotel Safes Stuffed with Golden Dust and Yellow Nuggets

This Route Beats Them All! Only Ten Days via Bennett from Dawson City to Seattle, versus Twenty-Six Days, Barring Accident, from St. Michaels.

HIP, HIP, HURRAH!!! Gee whiz!!!!!!!

A goodly part of this season’s output of gold from the Klondike will undoubtedly come out this way! About a quarter of a million of it came out this way yesterday, and this was merely by way of experiment. The men who carried the precious metal started from Dawson by steamboat, but whether they would be able to navigate in these steamers as far as the White Horse rapids, and then to make connections with other steamers to take Bennett, was a question that even the steamboat operators were unable to guarantee.

But the experiment proved a success, and last night there was more excitement over the arrival of some forty Klondikers with good news from the interior, and with bags of nuggets and dust to prove it, than could be expected even on a railroad payday.

On June 24 and 28 two upper Yukon riverboats started from Dawson, or rather some mile or so above Dawson, as the river bank of that famous Mecca was so thickly studded with all sorts of crafts that a steamboat was unable to put in. These steamboats were the Goddard and the Ora, making connections at White Horse with steamers of the same companies, plying between that point and Bennett.

This route was subjected to a fierce competition with that by way of St. Michaels. The steamer May West left Dawson on June 24 with many passengers and over a million dollars in gold dust, and the steamers Belle Isle and Hamilton were alongside, ready for their loads of the precious metal accumulated by the two greater trading companies.

All these were to leave before July 1st. But even if these boats make connections at St. Michaels without a long wait, which is extremely problematical, it will take them, under the most favorable circumstances, twenty-six days  to reach Seattle, while on this route it took the hardy pioneers but EIGHT DAYS between Dawson and Skaguay, which included a wait of two days at White Horse rapids for the transfer boat from Lake Bennett.

When this news gets back to Dawson in two or three days time; it will turn the bulk of the travel this way. A conservative estimate of the year’s clean-up places the amount at slightly less than twenty million dollars, but probably three-fourths of this is in the custody of the two great trading companies, and they will, of course, send it out in their own boats by way of St. Michaels. The remainder is sure to come out by way of Skaguay.

The May West, which left Dawson June 24, carried by way of St. Michaels, about $750,000 and the other boats, which left between the 28th of June and the 4th of July output.

The Ora left Dawson on the same date as the May West for White Horse and on the 28th, the Goddard left, and overtook its competitor at that point. The Kilbourne started from Bennett on Tuesday and brought up the passengers of both boats the following day.

Some of these came in last night via Dyea, but the majority over the Skaguay wagon road. Of the former, three old timers, headed by Jim McIntire, called at the old stopping place before Skaguay was: Healy & Wilson’s store, and there deposited 150 pounds of gold dust and nuggets. Five of their companions also deposited their dust in Sam Heren’s safe.

The First Bank of Skaguay kept open late last night to receive in their time safe the dust brought in by the Yukoners, and all the safes in all the hotels in the city were utilized. The brothers Butler of Lexington, KY., preferred to keep their dust in sight all the time and when they went over to the Pack Train restaurant from the Hotel Astoria, where they were staying, they carried their winnings with them.

All the men speak enthusiastically of the outlook in and about Dawson. The richest strikes recently made have been on the hillsides of Skookum Creek and its tributary, French Gulch. On the latter, a man picked up with his hands $2,400 in nuggets in two hours.

– THE SKAGUAY NEWS, July 8, 1898