Martin opens Soapy Smith museum

Martin branched out to become the badly needed caretaker of the city's gold rush cemetery. This included badman Soapy Smith's grave, who was at the height of power when Itjen arrived, and was killed in Skagway at the Shootout on Juneau Wharf.

Near the graveyard is the site of the world's largest gold nugget, which Itjen used as part of his Skagway tour route.

In 1935 Martin purchased and restored Soapy's saloon as part of his streetcar tour. Guests, upon opening the front door to enter, were greeted by an effigy of Soapy Smith standing at the bar. With Martin's mechanical artistry, the front door made Soapy's head turn towards the entering guests. One hand held a glass of beer while the other hand swung up pointing a pistol at the new visitor to the Museum.

For a comprehensive overview of this great Klondike character, I encourage you to visit, the official website for the Soapy Smith Preservation Trust and home of the Friends of Bad man Soapy Smith. The site is maintained by Jeff Smith, a Soapy descendant.

2011 Bob Wieking. All rights reserved