White Pass & Yukon Route

Joseph McCann – Conductor on the White Pass Railroad

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 in Skagway families, White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

McCann House

Joseph McCann was born on May 3, 1879 in Quebec and came to Skagway in 1898 and like so many others,  he worked for the railroad. He worked as a carpenter, brakeman and conductor.  (He gave the photo of Jerry Quinlan to the family as we saw in yesterday’s post.)

Mary Kerwin came to Skagway from Ottawa, around 1904 and was in the Tuberculosis Sanitarium for awhile, recovered and then married Joseph. They had at least 5 children, one became a priest, one a nun and one a nurse at the hospital. They lived in Skagway until after 1930.  Joseph died in Vancouver, B.C. in 1936 and Mary in Beaverton, Oregon in 1969. They all lived in a little yellow house which sits right behind our house, on 13th, as seen above. When we moved to Skagway in 1998, Wanda Warner lived in that house and she brought over an entire dinner for us as a housewarming present. I will never forget her kindness to us, she was a wonderful lady.

1910 1920 and 1929 census; Alaska Yukon Pioneer Roster;

Read More

Jerry Quinlan – First White Pass Conductor

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 in Skagway families, White Pass & Yukon Route | 2 comments

Jerry Quinlan


Jeremiah G. “Jerry” Quinlan was born in 1861 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He and his sister Rachel came to Skagway around 1900. Rachel married Martin Conway and Jerry married Agnes Alice. Jerry was the first conductor of the White Pass Rotary Engine as he is seen in the photo above which was generously given by his descendent Quinlan Steiner today. What a dashing uniform too!  Unfortunately Agnes Alice died in Skagway and is buried in the Gold Rush Cemetery and Jerry died in 1917 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery (he was 56). They lived at 607 Main Street and in 1910 had an adopted son, John , who was born in Washington in 1894. John later worked for White Pass as a wiper (whatever that means).  I have seen this often in Skagway where children were adopted.

This month the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is gearing up for the upcoming season, I have always thought that the black snappy conductor uniforms look very smart. Let us all hope and pray for a safe season.

Clifford; Graves; 1910 census, Skagway Death Record; 1909 AB book; personal communication

Read More

White Pass Derailment

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 in White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

A visitor posted this picture of the train derailment yesterday at the White Pass Summit. 10494904_10152283771351483_4111251727204681811_o

Read More

A bunch of the railroad guys a few years back…

Posted on May 12, 2013 in White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

image-1Can you identify these train guys from 1999?

Clue:  the first one is Lep and the middle guy is John Bush.

for extra credit, where did the second steam engine come from and where is it now?!


Read More

More fundraiser items for Buchanan’s charity

Posted on May 10, 2013 in Alaska, Children, White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments


I love to get photos of historic things from followers! Here are three photos of matches which were sold as fundraisers for boys in the inner city to help fund their trip to Alaska with George Buchanan back in the 1930’s. They funded their trip by selling kitchen items to earn 1/3 of the money, 1/3 was given by Mr. Buchanan and 1/3 was contributed by the parents. Buchanan loved  Alaska and presumably felt that exposing the boys to the great state would expand their view of the world. I wonder if it worked! There are also some items on display in the White Pass Depot.

When riding the train to the summit, the train agents will point out across the valley  the words “On to Alaska with Buchanan” painted on the rock wall.

Thanks to Scott Cummings for the photos!

Read More

Trail of ’98 before the railroad

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 in White Pass & Yukon Route | 0 comments

This early photo of the Brackett Road or Trail of ’98 is the path that the White Pass railroad used later.

Read More