The building before you is an historical structure known as "Jeff. Smith's Parlor." It has recently been acquired by Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, a unit of the National Park Service. Jeff. Smith's Parlor, a part of the extensive Rapuzzi collection, was very generously donated to Skagway and the National Park Service by the Rasmuson Foundation. It was once the saloon and headquarters for Jefferson Randolf [sic] Smith, better known as "Soapy." Soapy Smith was Skagway's most infamous con-man, who lived here throughout the gold rush stampede of 1897-1898. Soapy was killed in a shoot-out by Frank Reid on July 8, 1898, and both are buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery.
In the years following Soapy's death, this false-front wood-frame building changed hands several times, serving as a restaurant, the Hook & Ladder Truck and Hose shed, and in 1935 was purchased by Skagway resident and tourism promoter, Martin Itjen. Itjen's reopened the building as Jeff. Smith's Parlor Museum, and it soon became the highlight of Itjen's gold rush tours until his death in 1942. George Rapuzzi, a collector of gold rush memorabilia, and Itjen's long-time friend, took over the museum and moved the building to its present location.
Using historic photographs to guide the process, historic restoration is starting this summer with archaeological excavations, followed by construction of a foundation. Original artifacts and memorabilia from Jeff. Smith's Parlor Museum will be on display once the restoration is complete.