A Guide to the McCrae Construction Camp Stop of Interest
by Murray Lundberg
Campgrounds & Rest Areas in the Yukon Territory
The McCrae Construction Camp and Historic Mile 910 Stop of Interest is located at Km 1413.3 of the Alaska Highway, just east of Whitehorse, Yukon. It is located on the highway side of a North 60 fuel cardlock. Two interpretive panels describe the McCrae construction camp of World War II's Alaska Highway construction period, and some noteworthy lines of latitude and longitude in the Yukon. The name of this location has various spellings, mostly commonly Macrae.
Usually there is plenty of parking even for the largest of RVs, but semis and their trailers are sometimes parked right in front of the interpretive panels and Mile 910 post.
McCrae Construction Camp
In 1900, this was a flag stop on the newly constructed White Pass & Yukon Route railway. The station was named after a company director, Colin Mcrae. The station gained importance when a new wagon road to Carcross intersected the railway here. In 1911, White Pass built a 12-mile rail line from Mcrae to the Whitehorse Copper Belt. The spur line operated for about ten years until low copper prices closed the mines.
In 1942, American army troops arrived via rail and the old Carcross wagon road to build the pioneer Alaska Highway. Mcrae, now spelled McCrae, became a large military camp with a telephone repeater station, a relay station and a complex of warehouses and maintenance shops. While the highway was under American control, military police at a traffic stop just south of the tracks checked the papers of all highway travellers.
In the same year, a Public Roads Administration contractor, Metcalfe-Hamilton-Kansas City Bridge Company, set up a major construction camp here. McCrae became a sprawling, bustling community with its own theatre, store and recreation centre. Whitehorse residents often came out to watch the latest movies or attend a dance.
The McCrae camp was closed down soon after the end of WWII. Many of the buildings were dismantled and shipped out by rail. Others, including the two-storey structure which became the original McCrae hotel and truck stop, were sold to local people.
Hey There Globe Trotter!
You are on the 135th meridian, 1,368 kilometres west of Los Angeles, California.
You may travel across some important lines as you drive Yukon's scenic highways.
The majority of the Alaska/Yukon border lies along the 14st meridian, 457 kilometres by road to the west.
The northern hemisphere is bordered by the equator and the north poole and is divided by the Arctic Circle, 900 kilometres north and west of here by road.
Most of the southern Yukon lies along 60° north latitude, or we could also say the border line is on the 60th parallel.