There were many men who had famous nicknames in the North and from the files of Men’s Igloo No. 4 we bring you the following entertaining story of Louis Schmidt, a famous Alaska Sourdough:
“Two Step” Louis Schmidt without a doubt was the most consistently successful prospector that ever mined in the Yukon and Alaska.
Starting with his unorthodox discovery of high bench pay on Cheechako Hill above Bonanza Creek in Yukon Territory he later hit it big in the Nome area, followed by his discovery of the deep pay streak on Dome Creek in the Fairbanks District. Two Step Louis discovered more gold and mined less than any miner in the Yukon or Alaska.
After making the discovery he would always lease the operation out to a competent reliable company demanding as high at 40% royalty. Once the money started coming in, Two Step would always make a full-time project out of squandering the proceeds, and it is rather apparent that he collected a multitude of friends who most graciously volunteered to assist him in his effort. No guest of Louis ever dared to request any dance other than a two-step, because that was the only dance Louis ever learned.
To give you an idea just how generous this man was, in the early hours of the morning before the bars closed, Two Step would purchase numerous cases of champagne and have a horse drawn hack deliver them to the madams on the “line.” Later he would take his friends, go down there, going from house to house buying it back by the drink.
On another occasion while his Bonanza from the Klondike was pouring in, Two Step and some of his wealthy mining friends went to Seattle, chartered a train, loaded it with booze, food, a dance band and party girls then took off for Chicago. When the train arrived in St. Louis the trip was abandoned because all the participants were so completely debauched that the ambulances took them to the hospital.
Two Step Louis never kept any records of his mining proceeds, and no one knows how much he squandered, but it probably was in excess of one and one-half million dollars, when thirty dollars a month was considered good wages in the States.
When asked about his spending habits, Two Step once said, “If given the chance I’d love to do it all over again.”
Note: “Two Step Louie” was a longtime member of Men’s Igloo No. 4 and his grave is near the site of his cabin on Nome Creek. This high stepping history nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.