Reid Smith Gun Battle

As a nearby marker testifies, this corner marks the scene of the Reid-Smith Gun Battle. Near here, criminal kingpin Jefferson R. "Soapy" Smith and surveyor Frank Reid shot it out on the evening of July 8, 1898. Just four days earlier, Smith was the undisputed leader of Skagway. He had been chosen as the grand marshal for the July 4th parade, and was cheered by his fellow citizens. On the 8th, however, a stampeder just back from the Klondike had his $2,800 poke of gold stolen in Soapy's saloon, and the angry victim told one and all about the robbery. Respectable townspeople were jolted into action, and decided to hold a mass meeting on the Juneau Co. wharf to organize against Smith. That wharf began near this street corner, and headed in the direction of the present ferry terminal. Reid and several others were chosen to guard the entrance to the wharf against outsiders. They expected trouble, and soon got it. Smith heard about the meeting, left his saloon and stalked down State Street to the wharf. Shortly after reaching it, however, Reid stopped him. A wild blaze of gunfire ensued, and both men collapsed to the dock. Smith was killed instantly, a bullet through his heart. Reid sustained an agonizing groin injury. He rallied bravely, but died 12 days after the shooting. Smith's gang was rounded up and sent off to jail. Skagway has enjoyed peace and quiet ever since. To return to the railroad depot, where you began your tour, continue along 1st Ave. to Broadway, then turn left. We hope that you enjoyed your tour!

Getting There

State & 1st
Skagway, AK 99840
Driving Directions