The first automobile to drive in Skagway was in April 1900. That was when Count de Lamare came to Skagway with his three wheel automobile and another one. He was a Paris correspondent and brought his cars north to gain publicity for his writing. He was president of the Auto Club of Paris and an enthusiastic autoist. They presumbably took the train to Bennett where they set out on the lake. The three cylinder engine could go a remarkable 58 kilometers per hour but the other one with 5 horse power could only attain 26 kph. They were both gasoline engines and they carried along a sled with spare parts. Unbelievably they made it to Atlin in 5 days, gave rides there and then headed to Dawson!
The trip proved to be very difficult and they abandoned the vehicles somewhere in the Klondike. Still, their travel in the North where there were no roads was marvelous. The Count and his traveling companion Mary Hitchcock, traveled 1000 kilometers, in the late spring where they encountered icy and slushy conditions.
The little vehicle is seen above. No wonder the traveling party was so small….
from: Atlin – the story of British Columbia’s Last Gold Rush by Christine Frances Dickinson and Diane Solie Smith.
Mr. Pillman was born in January 1862 in Canada. He and his wife Elizabeth and daughter Ethel lived in Skagway from 1898 until about 1901 and ran a grocery store and was also an undertaker. When he moved to Atlin he also had a grocery store and a hearse which he would use to transport both fruits, vegetables and corpses. Some people objected to that though.
We photographed this little sign on a building there which says he had the first steam peanut roaster in Skagway in 1898. Who knew?!!! Wouldn’t one of these really add to the ambiance of Skagway in the summer?
Last weekend we went to Atlin, it was beautiful. Stayed at the Brewer’s Bay Chalet which, although clean and plain has a million dollar view of the lake and snow covered mountains. After walking around town in the rain, we visited the Atlin Cemetery and photographed this curious monument to Harper Reed, gentleman adventurer. Have not been able to find out anything more, if anyone knows, please leave a comment.
Frederick McBain Young was born in October 1863 or 1868 in Montreal. He graduated with a B.A. from Queen’s University and made his way to Nanaimo where he married in 1893. In 1895 he was made a Barrister in Nanaimo. During the gold rush he came north and was in Skagway briefly. He was a friend of John Douglas Stewart who was famously robbed by three of Soapy’s gang members in 1898. Stewart was also from Nanaimo. Young was the first judge of the county court of Atlin, B.C. in 1905. He served 28 years as judge in Prince Rupert county court from 1907. He retired and returned to Vancouver in January 1933, and died in Vancouver on May 31, 1937. Seen above is the Atlin courthouse built in 1900 which Judge Young used.
I have often wondered about the telegraph lines seen along the road in various places with the glass insulators. In 1898-99 when the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railway was built, from Skagway through the White Pass to Bennett City near the BC-Yukon border, they also put in the telegraph line. Before construction was completed in July 1899, the Canadian Privy Council approved the extension of the telegraph line to Dawson City and a spur line to Atlin, British Columbia, where a gold strike had occurred the previous year. Construction on the 1,000-kilometre Yukon portion of the Yukon Telegraph line began at Bennett Lake and finished in Dawson City in September 1899 ahead of schedule. Twenty-eight men, four of whom drowned in the Yukon River, completed the work in six months, traveling by waterway and stringing wire at a rate of 10 to 16 kilometres a day. The estimated cost for the project was $135,750. Supplies arrived in Skagway from as far away as Great Britain, including 600 miles of No. 8 (5mm) wire, hundreds of boxes of insulators and side blocks, and provisions for a 100-man workforce. John Franklin Richardson, construction superintendent worked for John Baptiste Charleson the supervisor of construction. J.C. Tache was the chief engineer (seen above in Skagway) and Joseph Gobeil was the private secretary. Even Michael J. Heney helped by supplying pack horses to bring the supplies to the pass. There are lots more really intereting stories about this in the following book: Wires in the Wilderness: The Story of the Yukon Telegraph by Bill Miller
In the same newspaper was an ad for John William’s “Railroad Restaurant” that had meals from 25 cents and up and that seated 50-60 people. They also had “private rooms” for ladies. The building that housed the restaurant still stands, it is part of the Richter’s store across the street from AB Hall. It was called the John Irving Building:
“British Columbia steamboat pioneer, John Irving, built this two-story false-fronted wood frame structure during the rush to Atlin in 1899. The John Irving Navigation Company, which operated a system of steamboats and a railroad from Bennett to Atlin, had a ticket office on the first floor as did Canadian Pacific Navigation. After the Atlin rush, the building became the Railroad Restaurant. After 1910 the Grand Truck Pacific Railway opened a ticket office for its steamships. In the 1930s the building became a part of Richter’s curio shop, the present occupant.”
Seen above, the 1910 is for the Richter’s Store, as the building is actually a gold rush building.
Georgia Amanda Pineo and Holmes Dewolfe were born in Berwick Nova Scotia but Holmes’s family moved to Port Alberni on Vancouver Island B.C., around 1893. Holmes went to school in Victoria in 1898 and then moved to Atlin.
Holmes and his cousin Georgia fell in love and came to Skagway in 1909 to marry on June 24. The marriage did not last long though, because only a year later, on October 30, 1910 Georgia died at the age of 24. Holmes remarried in 1915 but he too died in Port Alberni, on this day, January 1, 1927 at the age of 43.
Seen above is Port Alberni about 1915 with the Pineo family hardware store on the far left.
The Register, Berwick, Kings Co., Nova Scotia.
Vital Statistics 1909; Family search
Mr. Edwin Ridd was born in 1860 in Dover England and ran the Hastings Sawmill in Atlin in 1906. As a lumberman he regularly must have cut down trees and cut them up for lumber and firewood. And so, it is perhaps karmic that on this day, December 18, 1906 he was hit by a falling limb from a tree and killed. He is buried in the Atlin cemetery.
In honor of Ridd and his run in with the avenging tree, we decided not to go out and murder a young tree and drag it into the house this year. Or maybe it is just in respect of the ancient Celtic Druid beliefs that everything in the universe is alive. Whatever, we will still observe the ancient Druid rituals of hanging the mistletoe over the doorway and call it good.
Atlin 2011 newspaper.
Michael McKanna was born in 1849 in Waterford County Ireland. He moved to Alaska with his family and went mining in the Yukon gold fields with his two oldest sons, Jim and Emmet. There, he came down with Brights Disease, a kidney ailment. Making his way back toward Douglas with Jim as his support, Michael died near the shores of Lake Bennett on June 13, 1899. When news reached Douglas, his daughter Elizabeth took a boat to Skagway and the White Pass train to Bennett. She and Jim buried their father’s body in the small Bennett cemetery.
family McKanna website:lauralei.com; familysearch; headboard 2009; listed in Atlin bios
The McKanna Family: Pioneers of the Northwest
Mr. Hirschfeld was born on this day June 8, 1866 in London, England. He came to Dyea and Atlin in 1898 and took many famous photographs including one of the goldrushers heading up the Golden Stairs.
He worked the Alaska and Klondike towns in 1898 and moved to Atlin by April 1899. Hirschfeld’s Atlin photo studio, seen above, was destroyed in the August 1900 fire. He purchased an Atlin Claim in December 1900 and sold it the following year. He was also the manager of the Atlin Lake Lumber Company that year.
Hirschfeld married and settled in Vancouver, but appears not to have practiced photography professionally there. He died on November 8, 1926 in San Francisco, California.
Cameraworkers website; BC archives.