Sunday, 9 June 2013

Eva's Parka

Today the family went for a bike ride along the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse. Afterwards, our eldest child asked, "Can we go to the McBride Museum to see if we can find Eva's parka?" She remembered that we had been talking about it a few months ago.

So off we went to explore the museum. As soon as we came in the door, she noticed the parka prominently displayed in a case near the front of the museum.

Eva Daniel was one of the former owners of the Little Blue House; for those of you who haven't read my previous blogs about her, she was the madam when the LBH was Atlin's last operating brothel. (Click on her name to see an old post.)

Eva had been a madam during the first days of the Gold Rush, when most of the action (haha) was in Discovery, about 7 kilometres away from Atlin. At that time, she still went by her maiden name, Eva Lambert, as she was married later on, after moving to Atlin. Eva operated several brothels before moving to Atlin, from what I've read thus far.

It appears that she was an attractive woman, and that she had many suitors. One of these suitors gave her an expensive if somewhat curious gift: a parka made almost entirely of feathers. Approximately 70 ducks and loons gave their lives in the making of this parka, which was extremely lightweight, waterproof and warm. It was a thoughtful and generous gift in a frigid, damp climate as exists in northern British Columbia.

I'd heard that the parka had been saved and donated to a museum. Today, we found it in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory! Here it is, and I apologize for the lousy photos, taken with my phone...

The curator at the museum was interested to hear that we'd purchased Eva's house, a former brothel. She suggested that we return during the off-season to research the history of Eva and the LBH further, adding that amongst the 30,000 artifacts at the museum, surely there are more clues about our mysterious little house and its shady madam. Feathers and all...

Eva's Parka

Closeup of Feather Parka

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