White Pass and Yukon Route Depot - Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
N 60° 43.207 W 135° 03.006
8V E 497266 N 6731614
Quick Description: Built in 1905, this railway depot played a significant role in Whitehorse and Yukon's economic history and the development of a territory wide transportation system.
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada
Date Posted: 6/26/2020 7:40:48 AM
Waymark Code: WM12PF0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 2

Long Description:
Description of Historic Place:

"The White Pass and Yukon Route Depot is a municipally designated historic site consisting of a two story building and land located on First Avenue, at the foot of Main Street on the Yukon River waterfront in downtown Whitehorse.

Heritage Value:

The White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) Depot in Whitehorse was designated for its historic and architectural values. The railway depot is representative of the fundamental role that the WP&YR had in Whitehorse and Yukon's economic history and the development of a territory wide transportation system from the early twentieth century. Its location illustrates the historic link between the WP&YR rail and water transportation divisions.

The WP&YR Railroad was constructed in 1898-1900 to service the Klondike Gold Rush, carrying freight and passengers from the ocean port of Skagway, Alaska to the Yukon interior. WP&YR bought and surveyed the Whitehorse townsite as a typical railway town with the railway depot as the focal point at the two main intersecting streets. The transportation industry was essential to the economic growth and stability of the isolated territory with long distances between communities.

The original WP&YR Depot was constructed in 1900 but burned in the 1905 fire that destroyed downtown Whitehorse. The replacement structure constructed in 1905 was less adorned and smaller than its predecessor. It underwent several additions and alterations to respond to the changing requirements of its occupants. The roof line changed from a traditional style with a two story hipped gable central block with one story hipped gable wings to a 2 story low pitched gable extending the length of the building. The simple plan, stick sign, simulated log cabin siding and wood-shingled roof contribute to the building's northern rustic appearance. The deep canopy skirting the building at the second floor level and large neon sign on the roof add to the visual impact of the property. The open, wood paneled lobby area and large ticket office window demonstrate an original function of the building.

The freighting industry changed after 1942 with the war time construction of the Alaska Highway and the end of large scale river transport with the completion of roads into the interior in the mid 1950s. The freight yards in Whitehorse gradually moved from the downtown waterfront up to the Alaska Highway. The WP&YR Depot remained as the main office and head of operations until 1982 when the rail division shut down. Purchased by the Yukon Government in 1987, the building has undergone extensive rehabilitation and is now leased as office space.

Source: Minutes from Whitehorse Heritage Advisory Committee Meeting 2001-07, Thursday Sept. 20, 2001
City of Whitehorse By-law 2001-66

Character-Defining-Elements:

- Location and setting
- Rectangular footprint except for the dispatch bay on the trackside
- Exterior architectural elements that illustrate its function and contribute to its northern rustic appearance such as the log cabin siding, wood shingled roofs, deep canopy encircling the building, platforms, and the regular spacing and sizing of wood door and window openings
- Spatial configuration and interior finishes of the main entrance and lobby area, and the central stairway to the second floor
- Fixed vault on the second floor; mobile vault on the first floor
- Neon "White Pass & Yukon Route" sign on the roof
- Rustic stick "Whitehorse Yukon" sign on the street facade"

Reference: (visit link)

Personal Observations:

The White Pass and Yukon route railway depot was an essential component in a well thought out strategy developed by the Yukon Government to improve its economy, attract residents and develop mining sites. In doing so, it consolidated its economic viability and allowed the territory to respond to the needs of the various communities.
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Address:
1109 First Ave Whitehorse, Whitehorse, Yukon,


Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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