Author: Jeff Brady

Under the Boardwalk: Photo review stirs memories

By Jeff Brady During this semi-retirement phase of my life, I’m drawn to one of those coffee groups that get together in Skagway most mornings. The one I hit has a bit of an extended family element to it, with a mix of local stories and history, and often someone will bring an envelope of old Skagway photos to share. The photos get passed around and the guessing game begins. “Who’s that?”  followed by an “I know, that’s so and so, you remember?” It’s a great way to break up the usual present-day talk about who is seeing whom and who was on the last medevac. So when Kira Pontius and Kristi Ausfresser from Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park had an idea to better identify some of the photos in the park’s massive 10,000-photo collection, they knew where to turn. Pontius said she borrowed the concept from the Alaska Federation of Natives. At a recent AFN conference, she saw folders of photos separated by different areas of the state all spread out for Native Alaskans to help identify. She then approached Bites on Broadway, which hosts “Miss Bea’s Coffee Gang” on Wednesdays, and “Can You Help Tell These Photos’ Stories” came to be. It would make a nice addition to Yuletide. On December 14, Kira and Kristi arranged about 20 folders of photos on two tables and a...

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SHS volleyball team positive about season

Petersburg players pose with Skagway team and coaches. Submitted photo By Jeff Brady The Skagway High volleyball team did not win any matches at last weekend’s southern seeding tournament in Klawock, but they took a couple of teams to the brink. Head coach Aaron Schmidt said the team played six matches in two days and came close to getting a pair of wins, battling Haines and Metlakatla to five games. “But the record of wins and losses hardly tells the real story,” he said in an e-mail. “The nine student-athletes who came on the trip played bravely and never...

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Under the Boardwalk: Cranking up – my candidate in this race

By Jeff Brady I know, the last thing you want to read right now is ANOTHER election column. I get it, and you can stop right now and jump to the blotter page if you want. But try to stay with me if you can. You see, I, like many of you, am not impressed with the choices in the presidential race. At times like this – and they have happened in the past – I vote local. For years, I have this neighbor who has always greeted me with, “How’s the Liberal Media doing today?” or “Bet you Liberal Media are happy now?” or “How’s the Liberal Media going to explain this one?” Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t consider myself liberal, except on some social issues, which pegs me as more of a libertarian. I’m actually very conservative when it comes to financial matters, taxes and the like. But I consider myself friendly toward everyone – no matter the stripe – and hope they will be friendly back. It works pretty well in our little town. But we are a society of labels, and if I must accept the Liberal Media moniker, so be it.  In the media’s defense, we are trained to be, as a former colleague so aptly put, “radical middle-of-the-roaders.” Yep that’s me, but my old friend doesn’t buy into the fact that...

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Annual Skagway Scramble tournament

Stuart Brown tees off on hole 7 of the Meadow Lakes golf course in Whitehorse as teammate Orion Hanson waits his turn during the annual Skagway Scramble tournament on August 20. A dozen local teams participated, and the winning score this year was 10-under-par by the team of Tyler Rose, John Finlayson, Mike Swasey and Dave Hecker. Two teams tied for second at 8-under (the team of Wade Brown, Jed Greenstreet, Pete Griffard, and “Toogie” Hartson and the team of Mark Jensen, Nate Jensen, Dustin Hanson, and Andrew Cremata). Brown and Hanson teamed up with Colin and Jeff Brady...

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Soapy’s Last Victim’s Story Told to Grandson

Tom Clark points to a photo of his grandfather, John D. Stewart, his Atlin assay office, and a receipt for gold from the master of a ship that took Stewart back from Alaska after the trial of the men who robbed him. – Jeff Brady By Jeff Brady In the summer of 2013, I was in Whitehorse on a book tour after the release of Skagway: City of the New Century, and an elderly gentleman came up to my table and said, “I am the grandson of the last man robbed by Soapy Smith.” My jaw dropped, of course.  Descendants of gold rush stampeders come through our area all the time, but here was a man who was the grandson of John D. Stewart, one of the most significant, and least understood, characters in the Soapy Smith drama. He stood in front of me and said he had been living in Whitehorse for some 50 years. His name was Tom Clark. “We have to talk,” I said. “I want to know your story.” And I took down his name and address. It took a couple of years, but we finally sat down last December in the living room of the house he has occupied in the  Riverview neighborhood of Whitehorse since the 1960s. He first came north in 1942 as an aircraft mechanic for Yukon Southern Air Transport (later Canadian Pacific).  Bob...

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