RED ONION SALOON

201 Broadway, Skagway, AK

(907) 983-2222

Status: Former Brothel; Seasonal; Saloon; Museum; Tourist Attraction; Famous Haunted Location; Ghost Tours Available

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History

First built in 1898 as a brothel to provide female company for the Klondike miners who could afford it.

The second floor was used for entertaining “gentlemen” with each lady of the night represented by a doll so the customer could pick to their personal tastes. The dolls were laid out on the bar if that particular lady was working.

When the lady was actually “working” her doll was laid down and then brought back to a seated position when she was available for a new customer.

The second floor is still exactly as it was – although there is no longer any adult entertainment available – but it now a museum showing the brothel as it was.

The first floor was a bar, dance hall and hosted live events. This floor hasn’t changed much except no dancing and there’s also food available as well as more than just whiskey and water.

There is no better location in the 21st century where you can feel like you’ve stepped back into the Klondike than the Red Onion.

 

Paranormal Activity

This location fully embraces it’s paranormal activity and even offers ghost tours.

The most well known and famous ghost is that of Lydia; a former Madame of the brothel. It is commonly accepted she hung herself in the corner of her old room – where she most commonly appears – after contracting syphilis.

Her apparition often appears with marks on her face that late stage syphilis causes.

Lydia most often announces her presence with a smell of lilacs and phantom footsteps on the second floor.

Lydia also waters the plants in the building. Plants have been found with damp soil that haven’t been water by anyone alive in the recent past.

Lydia’s apparition – which is usually very translucent - generally appears in her old room but she has been seen throughout the building. She does have a history – probably well deserved – of being hostile towards some men.

One night there was such apparent chaos on the second floor the police were called. When they arrived a shadowy figure ran into a room that just happened to be the Madame’s room when the brothel was operating. The room was found to be completely empty.

This was thought to be Lydia’s ghost.

Lydia often caresses people’s faces that she likes.

She often appears as an orb, or blue mist or the faint outline of her face in people’s photos taken on site.

The lesser known and decidedly less friendly ghost at the Red Onion is John. He is thought to have been a bouncer who was stabbed to death by a lady of the night who got fed up with his constant harassment.

He generally announces his presence with the over bearing scent of body odor. Although he is more known for pushing people on the stairs and throwing open doors to reveal staff in the process of changing.