Belinda Mulrooney was born in Ireland. Shortly after her birth her family left Ireland and moved to Pennsylvania. When she was 18 Belinda left Pennsylvania and traveled to New York. There she opened up a restaurant. Tired of her restaurant she left for Juneau Alaska to open up a dress shop. In 1897, hearing of the gold rush she left Juneau for the Klondike to become the "richest woman in the Klondike." Selling her dress shop Belinda bought "silk goods and hot-water bottles", which she planned to sell on the Yukon.
On the way to the Klondike the captain of her ship put her in charge of ordering all of the supplies. On the way there a baby had to be delivered. Belinda did the job, with the captain reading aloud the instructions from a medical textbook. By the time they arrived at the Klondike in 1897 she was already quite rich from selling items to Natives along the way. It is said that when she arrived at the Klondike she threw her last fifty-cent piece into the river. She swore that she would never need such small change again.
She sold the silks and hot-water bottles at a profit of six hundred per cent. With this money she opened up a restaurant/lunch counter, and started a log cabin building business. Her first hotel was at Grand Forks, only about fifteen miles from Dawson and near Ethel and Clarence Berry's claims. She invested the money she earned from the hotel and added to her ever-growing fortune.
Belinda opened a second hotel in 1898, called the Fairview. She had brought all the materials over Chilkoot Pass herself and even hired a cook from San Fransisco and a manager from L.A. The Fairview was all the rage. The bar alone made $6,000 on opening day.
In 1900 she married the "Count" Carbonneau from France (he was really a Quebec champagne salesman). In 1904 they made plans to leave because Carbonneau was indicted on charges of embezzlement, but Carbonneau snuck out of Dawson with all of Belinda's furs and jewels, and Belinda never heard from him again. Commuting each winter to Europe, Carbonneau became a bank director and steamship magnate. "Count" Carbonneau was killed in World War I.
Belinda Mulroney eventually settled in Yakima, Washington were she lived in a large mansion, named Mrs. Carbonneau's Castle. She supported her family on her fortune. In the last few years of her life, her money ran out and she died in seclusion in Seattle at the age of 95.
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
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