The story behind the Red Onion Saloon is not the kind you would expect. A former pleasure house slowly turned into a site for hauntings and paranormal activities. Hence, let us dive deep into history to see what made the saloon what it is today. Stick around to find out more. 

History Of The Saloon

The famous paranormal investigation agency NESPR claims that this sight is one of the prominent paranormal hotspots. This means the location holds or acts as a portal for entities that are not of this realm. However, in order to properly understand the haunting, you need to understand the history that led to this. This will enable us to understand the causes or the driving force that led to this.

The story of the Red Onion Saloon started way back in 1896. The local miners discovered gold in a place called Klondike, located in the Yukon region of northwest Canada. Hitting a vein of gold in 1896 was a huge deal. As soon as the news spread, prospectors from Seattle and San Francisco flocked to this region. Sources suggest that approximately 10,000 people rushed to this small place of Klondike in just three years. However, most of these prospectors got nothing but dirt and death. But the town of Skagway benefitted the most.

History Of The Saloon

The town of Skagway was nothing but a small outback town, but after the gold fever, it transformed into something different. In a short span of time, the town’s population went from a few hundred to 30,000. Yes, you read that right. 

Most of the buildings in Skagway have a story to tell. But one building particularly has some really chilling instances to share. The Red Onion Saloon has become one of the most haunted residential buildings in North America. But was it a haunted house from the get-go? Or did the place gradually start attracting the energies of dead people due to its history? Understanding this will eventually help us get to the bottom of the hauntings of the Red Onion Saloon. 

Many Faces Of The Saloon

The Red Onion Saloon has served many purposes over the years. Maybe this is why the location has become a hotspot for paranormal activities. 

Many Faces Of The Saloon

The Saloon primarily started out as a popular dance hall. Locals used to flock to the halls of this saloon for dancing and indulging in all kinds of vices. Men would often come to the bar and see ten dolls enclosed in a glass display. These dolls represented the females that are working. If the doll is kept up, it means that the respective female is free at the moment. And if the doll is lying down, it means that the female is busy. A weirdly sophisticated way to manage customers. 

Later on, this location served as an army barrack, bakery, laundry shop, and even a union hall. Therefore, the Red Onion Saloon has served the Skagway town in several different ways, which has given this place its charm.

Ghosts Of Red Onion Saloon

The Red Onion Inn was not a place for children. It was a grim and gritty place that had many faces and had seen a lot of stories. During the Gold Fever, a lot of men flocked to the region of Klondike. Not all of them were pleasant to be around. According to old government records, the town of Skagway was a lawless place. In fact, a criminal named Soapy Smith used to run a gang and operations in this town. As a result, murder and mayhem was the norm of the day. 

Ghosts Of Red Onion Saloon

Moreover, females only made up eight percent of the total population in Skagway. Sources claimed that there were 300 females for 15,000 males. Therefore, violent crimes against females were very common. And maybe this is the reason why female spirits are predominant in the halls of the Red Onion Saloon. 

Diamond Lil Davenport

At one point, the Saloon served as a brothel for the population of Skagway. Countless courtesans served the guests, but the spirit of Diamond Lil Davenport still haunts the wooden hallways of the saloon. 

People claim that Davenport immigrated to America after a failed marriage. She started out as a singer in a bordello. Eventually, she went on to become one of the most famous courtesans of this haunted ex-brothel. 

Remarkably, Davenport did not face an untimely death. In fact, sources claim that she died miles away in a nursing home in 1975. However, as soon as Davenport died, hauntings of this saloon began. 


Another ghost that seems to plague the halls of this old saloon is the ghost of Lydia, but not much is known about her. Unlike Davenport, Lydia is not confirmed to be a real person. In fact, whatever information we have is circumstantial or rumors. 

It is believed that Lydia was a former prostitute who worked in this saloon for years. She is one of the benevolent spirits of this saloon. She often leaves a scent of lilac and gooseberries. Also, the room that she frequents is said to have some specific cold spots. 

 It is widely believed that Lydia contracted syphilis. The second theory is that she died, but this is not a confirmed report. However, it is believed that the room she frequents is the room she killed herself. 

End Note

And that was the intricate history of the haunted Red Onion Saloon. It is a weird building that went through several stages and roles in history and has absorbed all the energies that were associated with it. Therefore, this place is currently one of the most haunted saloons in America. 


samik ghoshal

Samik has been a literature student all along and uses his fluidity to write about multi-niche topics. Aspiring to be a professional writer, he tries to analyze his topic from a critical standpoint but still adds a hint of personal perspective to the end product. Being a person having a general inclination toward global politics and documentary filmmaking, he also wishes to write and document more about numerous conflicts that are brewing in the different corners of the globe.

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