Restored brothel In Seward, Alaska offers overnight guests a glimpse of history
Built in 1907 by William Sauers, the Sauerdough Lodging building has served many purposes over the years. It originally housed the Seward Commercial Co. general store, with a town meeting hall upstairs. During the Roaring ’20s, the building was a brothel in Seward, Alaska. It is presently the home of The Sea Bean café downstairs and our charming rental apartments upstairs.
Our five apartments are beautifully restored, with original hardwood floors, claw foot tubs, original built-in cabinetry, high ceilings and vintage kitchens with modern appliances. In a town that was hit hard by the 1964 earthquake, few original buildings have stood the test of time, and fewer still feature such comfortable accommodations.
We offer our guests the unique opportunity to experience Seward’s history without sacrificing any of the conveniences you expect while traveling. Inspired by the artwork of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an American artist who lived on Fox Island in Resurrection Bay during 1918 and 1919, we have chosen to name each of our apartments after one of his drawings. Kent published a memoir of his Alaska experience, Wilderness, in 1920, and the drawings we have chosen are taken from this book.
Speaking of brothels, elsewhere in Alaska, The Red Onion Brothel Museum is filled with many antiques from these good ole days. From the Brothel Museum website, “The Red Onion was the classiest dance hall and saloon in the bustling gold rush town of Skagway. The upstairs bordello consisted of 10 cribs (or rooms). Each crib was very small in size, but elaborately decorated. The cribs all had 2 or 3 doors for escape purposes and temperature control.”
A weary miner could wander into the Red Onion for a taste of “liquid courage” and a dance or two with a beautiful lady. When the time came to cure his thirst for some love and affection, the anxious gentleman would choose his girl in a very unique way. Behind the bar were 10 dolls that represented the 10 girls upstairs. As each customer would choose a doll of his choice, the bartender would then lay the doll on her back, indicating that that girl was “busy”. Once the gentleman came back down the stairs, the doll was sat upright so every customer in the bar knew that she was once again available.” How discreet!