Step back in time and get ready to discover a historic landmark located in the southeast town of Skagway. The
Red Onion Brothel Museum was built in 1897 and continued to operate as one the finest bordellos throughout the entire state for many, many years. The original structure still remains today and although times have changed, the spirit of the old fashioned days is still alive and celebrated. Each summer visitors from all around the world flock to this seasonal operation to enjoy the lively restaurant and bar, touring the museum and investigating the paranormal activity circulating around the undying rumors that the Red Onion Saloon is haunted.
Head to southeast Alaska and up the Inside Passage to make your way to the charming town of Skagway.
The historic Red Onion Saloon and Brothel Museum is located right in town on the corner of 2nd & Broadway.
Although the backdrop is utterly picturesque with towering mountains as far as the eyes can see, what you'll find inside is hauntingly different than what originally meets the eye.
Step inside and walk up the staircase to check out the main attraction; the brothel museum!
Walk through narrow hallways lined with wallpaper and experience decorations and adornments that have changed very little since the 19th century.
The museum is filled with many antiques and charming relics from the gold rush days.
As you walk around, you'll discover paintings on the wall which are a representation of madams that used to work in the brothel during the early 1900's.
You'll notice lots of fun literature to read about the wild days of the past, including this one titled "a different kind of gold digger."
Pretty catchy, huh? Fit perfectly considering this brothel was immensely popular during the gold rush era.
The upstairs bordello (floor) consisted of 10 cribs (rooms) which are very tiny in size but elaborate with gaudy decor.
In this area specifically, a ghost is said to appear the most frequently.
Look up and watch as the light flickers sporadically or starts swaying back and forth out of nowhere.
Maybe you'll even catch a glimpse of a madam spirit dressed in white, coming back to experience the difference of a present day brothel versus the historic setting that is now outlawed.
If that gives you the heebie jeebies, don't worry - it does the same to us! Spooooooky.
Spooooooky. But don't worry, rumor has it that the haunting spirits are harmless and merely just simple spirits that continue to linger from the 19th century.
Even from the outside looking in, onlookers can see peek-a-boos in the upstairs windows which many have claimed to see moving or haunting spirits circulating about in the display.
Back in the day, 10 dolls were placed behind the bar and they represented the 10 girls upstairs working in the brothel.
When gentlemen would come in looking for "companionship" they would point out the doll that they were most interested in, and the bartender would then indicate whether or not the girl was busy or available. When a madam was 'occupied' upstairs, the bartender would then lay the doll down on her back. Once the madam and customer finished their time together, the bartender would then put the doll back in the upright position.
Just because this historic building has a haunting reputation, that doesn't take away from its seasonal popularity.
In fact, it's one of the hottest spots in town. The restaurant and bar offers great food and flavorful cocktails in a fun and vibrant atmosphere.
Plus you'll even be served by a real life "good time girl" or gent. The staff really does go above and beyond to insure that each visitor receives an experience that transports them back in time to the gold rush era.
As the cruise ships dock into port and the passengers pour off into the city streets by the masses, the Red Onion Saloon is one the most popular must-see attractions in Skagway.
If your summer plans find you traveling up the Inside Passage or over to southeast Alaska via plane or personal watercraft, be sure to stop in and check out this historic spot for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.