Verbauwhede’s Building Lease Awarded to Taiya River Arts

Brown and white two story building with sign "Fresh Local Art"
The historic Verbauwhede's Cigar and Confectionery Store

NPS photo/K. Pontius

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News Release Date: March 29, 2017

Contact: Ben Hayes, 907-983-9206

Skagway – The National Park Service is pleased to announce the selection of Taiya River Arts for the lease of the historic Verbauwhede’s Cigar Store and Confectionery Building on 252 Broadway. The principle uses proposed under this lease are retail sale of gold nugget jewelry and other jewelry items. The primary managers for the business are Chris and Kathy Wassman of Skagway. 

Superintendent Mike Tranel said, “Taiya River Arts delivered a high quality proposal which consistently responded to, and either met or exceeded, all of the evaluation criteria.” 

Built in 1899 by Frederick Verbauwhede, the store offered tobacco products and confections such as candy, nuts, and fruits. Subsequent owners used the building for a variety of businesses including gunsmith, travel agency, and gasoline service station. The National Park Service purchased the property in 1977 and restored the building to its gold rush era appearance in 1986. 

After restoration, the Verbauwede’s Building became part of the National Park Service’s Historic Structure Leasing Program. This program is authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980 which authorized federal agencies to lease historic structures as part of a preservation strategy. The proceeds of such leases are used to defray the cost of administration, maintenance, repair and other related expenses on these and other historic properties. Significant restoration and improvement projects were recently completed on the building including new wood flooring downstairs and restored wood flooring upstairs, new interior paint, new electric heating and on demand hot-water systems, refurbishment of windows and weather stripping, and removal of a non-historic chimney. These improvements will help reduce energy costs and improve sustainability.

The National Park Service currently has four other similar lease agreements in effect in Skagway. For further information on the Historic Structure Leasing Program, please contact Chief of Administration Vickie McMillan at (907) 983-9218.

Last updated: March 29, 2017

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Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
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Skagway, AK 99840


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