Howard Firth’s opinion (enclosed) about the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, now called Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, is very interesting.
It’s true that there was a person called Diamond Tooth Gertie. But never in the history of the Klondike was there ever a casino-music-gambling hall called Diamond Tooth Gertie’s.
I think Arctic Brotherhood Hall should have been revived as the gambling hall.
A way of looking at it is — do you go authentic, or do you go phony?
Howard Firth’s letter follows:
Re the photo of The Arctic Brotherhood Hall:
My grandfather, T.A. Firth, became a member of the Arctic Brotherhood soon after arriving in Dawson in Sept. 1898.
The order was established in a similar vein as the Yukon Order of Pioneers, but had a closer connection to Alaska. The motto of the order was “No Boundary Lines Here” and featured crossed flags of Canada and the United States positioned behind a gold pan. T.A. Firth was the manager of the A-B Hall from 1920 until his death in Dawson in 1941.
He arranged concerts and brought in entertainers from all over North America.
Banquets were held here and, at one time, they had made personal Arctic Brotherhood dinnerware, consisting of dinner and side plates, and cups and saucers for 110 settings.
Our family is in possession of two plates that remain from this collection.
In later years, before it became “Gertie’s,” the hall was used for many dances.
As youngsters in Dawson, we were always fascinated by the “Ben Hur” curtain that hung on the stage and wish that Parks Canada could see fit to return this and other Arctic Brotherhood articles that were found during renovations.
Like you, I agree that this building should never have been called “Gertie’s,” as, to the best of my knowledge, she never had anything to do with this building during her years in Dawson.
I hope this information sheds a little light on the history of this building.
I look forward to seeing more of your historic photographs and articles.
Howard Firth, T.A. Firth Insurance
Last week, John Miller wrote a letter correcting details about his father’s death. Unfortunately, Miller mistyped the year of that tragic event.
Miller actually died several years ago, not earlier this year, as the letter suggested.
Anybody with information about Yukon history, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook — Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.