Historic Hood River
Skagway Street Car
When I first ran across this image of a “Skagway Street Car” I contacted Dale at WAAAM for the make and model. He suggested it was “home built” from parts of different vehicles, so we got to work trying to figure out where the parts came from. Little did I know how much information we’d eventually get about this odd vehicle. Not only do we know where the parts came from, we know all about the owner, how this vehicle came to be, and we even know where some parts of it are today.
The folks at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum have done a great job telling the history of the Skagway Street Cars. I highly encourage you to read it there, but in case the link breaks some day here’s a summary of the history of this vehicle, “Street Car #1.” According to their account, Martin Itjen, a Skagway pioneer and local Ford dealer, came up with the idea of giving tours of the historic town for 50 cents. He constructed this vehicle from a 1908 Packard. He built his street cars with train car parts for bodies, so Arlen should be happy too. Apparently the engine of this street car is now at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.
We can be pretty sure Olga Plog shelled out the 50 cents to take a tour of the town with Itjen. If you read that link carefully, you learned that ten years later Mae West took this same tour.
Tags: 1920s, Alaska, automobile, bus, cruise, cruise ship, Plog, road trip, Skagway
Arlen L Sheldrake
Well done Arthur…..a most interesting story. Thank you. I wonder how todays Skagway is going to survive this tourist “season”. A fun town to visit.
Great research, thanks. Thought at first it had to do with the early Safeway Stores that were started as Skaggs Safeway Stores.
So interesting how two such commonly advertised words for classes of products (curios and notions) faded from use.
I remember the proprietor of a shop near Mt. St. Helens explaining the difference between “souvenirs” and “novelties.” It was enough years since the eruption that the demand for “souvenirs” like vials of ash had died down, so he had brought in whoopee cushions and the like.