This small single story, wood frame structure (12 by 30 foot) was built sometime during the hurried days of the Klondike stampede but the exact date of construction is unknown. A November 1897 photograph shows the completed building on Fifth Avenue (Block 1, Lot 2), just east of the landmark Burkhard building, which was located on the southwest corner of Fifth and Broadway. Annie Leonard, a Skagway madam and the first woman to stake lots in Skagway in August 1897, staked this lot and probably had the building constructed shortly thereafter and then rented it out rather than using it as a brothel or crib.
Early Business Days
D. Goldberg operated his shop from the fall of 1897 through the fall of 1898 and possibly into the spring of 1899. An advertisement in the Skagway News (September 16, 1898) lists his stock of goods - "Everything Fresh. Fruits, Confectionery, Cigars, Tobacco, Nuts, Cakes, Candies, and Dried Fruits. Fifth Ave. above Broadway, next door to 'The Office' [a saloon]. D Goldberg." His advertisement in the paper continues through November 1898 and his name appears in the 1898 and 1899 Skagway city business directories. He probably closed up shop and headed off to the latest gold rush at Porcupine, north of Haines, Alaska. In the fall of 1900, Mr. Goldberg revisited Skagway and gave reports to the Daily Alaskan about the Porcupine gold fields. By that date he had set up shop at the outfitting point of Haines.
After the Gold Rush The Goldberg Cigar Store has changed little since Mr. Goldberg left for Haines. Annie Leonard sold the lot where the Cigar Store stood to the Kaufman Brothers, dry goods merchants, in December 1898. The local press announced that the property was to be cleared and a new large store was to be erected on the site. The Kaufman Brothers store was located about a half a block away up Broadway and north of Fifth Avenue. The firm never initiated this plan. The 1914 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the building vacant. In 1926 it passed to the city in lieu of unpaid taxes. In 1944 grocer Herbert Riewe acquired the vacant building and used it for storage. In 1978, Mr. Riewe sold the building, without the lot, to the National Park Service.
Finding a New Home In 1979, the NPS moved the structure. The building was first moved across Fifth Avenue to a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Shortly afterwards it was moved across the street to the east side of Broadway just north of the Boss Bakery. It rested there for many years until restoration started on the Boss Bakery in 1985. The Goldberg was then moved to the middle of Block 24, Lot 8 and placed at an angle. The intent at the time was to align it along a remnant of the White Pass Trail. The idea was to use the Goldberg and several wall tents to create an outdoor exhibit depicting the very early appearance of Skagway before the street grid was established. This concept was abandoned a few years later as unworkable because of the small amount of land available. Rehabilitation work on the building started in 2001 and was completed in 2002. During that project, the building was moved to front on Fifth Avenue. In 2004 the Goldberg was moved a fifth time to make way for the recently acquired historic Ice House. Once the Ice House was moved to park property, the Goldberg was moved back again facing Fifth Avenue.
In the fall of 2014 the Goldberg made another move, this time to back to Broadway on the alley between Fifth and Sixth avenues. It is part of a new exhibit space about women of the gold rush.