The town of Skagway, Alaska served as the “Gateway to the Klondike” and located within this town was the Red Onion Saloon, an exclusive brothel established in 1898 that served the 30,000 prospectors that came through the area seeking their fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush. Uniquely, dolls representing each of the workers would be placed at the bar, and customers would then choose by selecting a doll. It was only a brothel for two years before the gold rush waned there and a new rush popped up in Nome, Alaska. Throughout the years, the saloon housed various businesses including a dance hall, a pharmacy, a telegraph station, and army barracks during World War II. In 1980, the building was reopened as a saloon and restaurant, and the owner decorated with pictures of the girls who used to work there when it was a brothel as well as a brothel museum that operates upstairs.
One of the most recognizable and famous spirits at the Red Onion Saloon is that of Lydia, one of the former prostitutes of the brothel. People will encounter a strong smell of perfume that lingers in the air as well as extreme cold spots where the smell of perfume had originated, and many believe that it is her. She has been seen many times in full apparition wearing a long dark dress gliding down the staircase after dark. Another active ghost is thought to be the spirit of Diamond Lil, where she will make herself known to male guests by gently running her hands along their legs and whispering in their ears. There is also a malevolent male spirit here who doesn’t seem to be friendly towards anyone and some have seen the face of a male spirit in a mirror that is hanging in the Madam’s bedroom.
Join us on episode 127 to hear more about the Red Onion Saloon and the spirits that are still lingering here!
Sources:redonion1898.com, atlasobscura.com, skagwayshoretours.com, pizzatoday.com/2012-october-conversation/, hauntedrooms.com/alaska/haunted-places/red-onion-saloon-skagway, hauntedjourneys.com/haunted-eateries/1281-red-onion-saloon, hauntedhouses.com/alaska/red-onion-saloon-and-brothel-museum/