Not much of a photo, eh?  I agree. But in the early days of Alaska, this was PROGRESS!  During the Alaska Gold Rush, there were boomtowns scattered across an area 1/5th the size of the Lower 48. Some had post offices, others had telegraph lines but most had zip. But every town needed a court because bad people were everywhere.  In smaller towns, there were mining councils that dispensed justice. Larger communities had federally-appointed magistrates.  But some towns were so wild they needed bonafide judges even though the judges were in Juneau.  So the Territory of Alaska established a “floating court” where judges would take steamships – and then motor launches as you can see here – to “courtrooms” in saloons, churches, meeting halls or even residences to dispense justice. This photo is the “floating court” on its way to Unga, more than 1,000 miles by water from Juneau, in 1915.  The Wheels of Justice move slowly and in Alaska they often came by boat.

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