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Artwork Wednesday: S.S. Klondike

Artwork Wednesday: S.S. Klondike

This week's Artwork Wednesday features Jim Robb's S.S. Klondike, currently on display with the Jim Robb's Yukon exhibition.  As a guardian of Yukon culture and history, it may come as no surprise that Jim depicts the S.S. Klondike amongst his many historic sites. Done in his iconic style, Jim chooses to depict the S.S. Klondike steaming down the Yukon River. Steam powered sternwheelers were common in river and lake systems in Canada, and were heavily relied upon in the Yukon. The S.S. Klondike is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada to commemorate the role these sternwheelers played in the history of the Yukon.

The S.S. Klondike was built in Whitehorse, in 1929 by the British Yukon Navigation Company, a subsidiary of the White Pass & Yukon Route railway. Servicing communities along the Yukon River, the Klondike was designed to accommodate the Mayo silver mining district shipping upriver to Whitehorse where ore would be transferred to the White Pass & Yukon Route railway to Skagway, Alaska. With a cargo capacity 50 percent greater than other boats on the river at the time, she was the first sternwheeler on the Yukon River large enough to handle a cargo in excess of 272 tonnes (300 tons).  In 1936 when the vessel sank on a section of the Yukon River known as the Thirty Mile, the British Yukon Navigation Company immediately built the S.S. Klondike II, a virtual carbon copy of her predecessor, which continued to work the Whitehorse - Dawson City circuit.

Image source Parks Canada, map showing the route the S.S. Klondike regularly traveled down the Yukon River to Dawson City.

With the decline in silver prices and development of the Alaska Highway, the S.S. Klondike II completed her last Whitehorse and Mayo trip in 1950 but continued on the Whitehorse – Dawson run until 1952 until the Mayo Road was extended to Dawson. The British Yukon Navigation Company made an attempt to continue to run the S.S. Klondike as a cruise ship and though the trips were popular, the high costs of operation were not sustainable. In August 1955 the S.S. Klondike II, the last sternwheeler working on the Yukon River, came to rest in Whitehorse and was donated to the government of Canada by the White Pass & Yukon Route railway. In 1966 she was moved from the Whitehorse Shipyards to her present location where, restored to her original appearance, she now sits in permanent retirement overlooking the Yukon River. She was formally designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1967.

The S.S. Klondike is a listed site for the Jim Robb's Yukon Hunt! Check out some of our participants posing with the boat below, and find out how you can win a signed print by the artist himself, here.

Historical dates and information cited from Parks Canada: National Historic Site of Canada, learn more about the S.S. Klondike here.

Artwork Wednesday: Red Feather Saloon

Artwork Wednesday: Red Feather Saloon

This week's Artwork Wednesday is dedicated to Jim Robb's Red Feather Saloon, currently on display in the Jim Robb's Yukon exhbition. Done in his traditional style, Jim depicts the original Red Feather Saloon which stood in Dawson City. Once again, the artist has been able to capture a part of Yukon history which no longer exists in the form in which it is depicted. Deemed a historic site in 1991, the Red Feather Saloon was completely rebuilt in order to preserve its presence in Dawson City, the only original components of the structured that have been retained are the outside planks. Currently, the Dawson City Liquor Store is located in the replica of the saloon which remains in the exact location it originally did during the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Much like Jim Robb, Frederick Caley was a patron of Yukon hertitage and an advocate for many structures in Dawson City which are now deemed historical sites. Caley was born September 4, 1904 in Wilham, Essex, England and arrived in the Klondike region in 1922 at the age of eighteen. By 1941, Caley had purchased his first business, the old Palace Bakery and opened a grocery store.  Caley continued to purchase old buildings, preserving artifacts, remnants of businesses and any other material he appreciated for its emodiment of the history of the area. Many of these structures are now maintained by Klondike National Historic Sites and Parks Canada, including the Red Feather Saloon. To recognition Caley's contribution in preserving Yukon history, he received the Yukon Historical & Museums Association Heritage Award in 1981, the Commissioner’s Award in 1982 and was inducted in to the Yukon Prospectors’ Association Honour Roll in November 1989. Similar to Caley, Jim also shares this passion for preserving Yukon culture and history and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003. 

Photo from On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City

Photo from Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada

The Red Feather Saloon is one of five Dawson City locations listed in the Jim Robb's Yukon Hunt contest! Photograph yourself with a listed structure to be entered to WIN a signed Jim Robb print! To learn more about the contest click here, or view the interactive map with more historic structures in both Dawson City and Whitehorse. 

For location and hours of operationhere

SOVA On the Wire #07: The Centre for Land Use Interpretation: Dawson City PDF avaliable here.  

Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada website