"Skagway is a Southeast Alaskan paradise, full of
culture and brimming with life. Parts of the city seem stuck
in 1897, never progressing beyond the height of the Alaskan
gold rush era. This is speaking in architectural terms though,
as some of the restaurants and shopping facilities offer
distinctly 21st century fare. This unique blend of old and
new really enhances the atmosphere of Skagway. There is
so much to see and so much fascinating history to soak up.
The saloons and bars, some of which date back to 1898, are
splendid, full of artifacts and local heritage.
Though Skagway is a small enough town that you can pleasantly
travel around it on foot, side trips from Skagway to any
of the neighboring cities can prove to be a difficult proposition.
For example, the city of Haines is 14 miles away by ferry,
but if you try and rent a car and drive to Haines, it is
an unbelievable 359-mile trip to get there because of the
poor or nonexistent access to roads around Skagway. In any
event, lucky for you, downtown Skagway is quite compact
and all of the best sights are reachable by foot.
In 1897, people from all over the world flocked to Skagway
in search of a quick fortune. The gold rush gave thousands
of men and women false hopes and dreams, and when the riches
didn't pan out, the city really declined.
By mid-1898, Skagway was not a pleasant place to be, as
poverty and shantytowns had pretty much taken over. This
bustling town of 200,000 shrank to a mere 700 when the gold
rush ended. It took a while, but slowly people began to
realize that there was much more to Skagway than an old
gold rush town.
In the last two decades, tourism has really kept the city
afloat, and with the historic cemeteries, interesting museums,
fantastic parks, and lively saloons, Skagway has entered
the new millennium with a great deal of confidence."
-- from www.AlaskaCruises.com