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Arctic Brotherhood Hall

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1899; 1900, facade. Broadway, between Second and Third avenues
  • Arctic Brotherhood Hall (Jet Lowe)
  • Arctic Brotherhood Hall (Alison K. Hoagland)
  • Arctic Brotherhood Hall (Richard W. Longstreth)

An extraordinary example of Rustic architecture, the facade of the Arctic Brotherhood Hall is composed of driftwood sticks arranged in various patterns and constructions. The second-level balcony, pediments over the windows, parapeted cornice, and hood over the doorway are all constructed of these sticks. The wall is faced with them as well; tiny sticks arranged in a basket-weave pattern give an interesting texture to the wall. Behind this false front is a gable-roofed, wood-framed building covered with novelty siding on the sides and rear.

On the interior, most of the structure was devoted to a two-story hall, 30 feet by 50 feet, with a balcony at the second level. Stick and driftwood furniture lined the walls; some of it can be seen today in the city museum.

The Arctic Brotherhood was a fraternal organization founded by a group of gold seekers on board a steamer bound for Skagway in 1899. Once on land they formalized the arrangement, making Skagway the first camp, as the driftwood sign “Camp Skagway No. 1” on the front of the building notes. The building was constructed in 1899, but the driftwood facade, credited to Charles O. Walker, was not built until 1900. Rustic architecture is usually associated with urbanites “discovering” the wilderness, and its appearance in a sawmill-equipped town is no less ironic than a group of gold seekers forming an Arctic Brotherhood even before they had reached Alaska, much less the Arctic. A self-consciousness about the great adventure of the gold rush permeated Skagway.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Arctic Brotherhood Hall", [Skagway, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 161-162.

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