The following newspaper article describes the arrival of the first Cadillac, an 8-cylinder, 7-passenger touring model, in the Yukon Territory, in the summer of 1915.
Dawson Daily News
DAWSON CITY, YUKON TERRITORY, June 29, 1915
George F. Johnson received Saturday a new Cadillac car of the latest design. It is the finest automobile ever brought to the Yukon, and ranks among the top-notchers to be found anywhere in the world. Mr. Johnson was out Saturday evening and Sunday with the car, limbering it up under the guidance of D. W. Ballentine, the expert driver. The car made a run to King Solomon dome, the highest point in the Klondike, Sunday, and took the straight climb up the long four-mile hill to Fournier's and on to the dome without an effort. Johnson also did a Barathon of three miles about the track at the summit in a little practice at the wheel, and took a spin up the fine Klondike boulevard to the Hay Ranch before returning. The Seattle Times gave a big picture of the car, crated, leaving there for Dawson, and said:
"Fame of the eight-cylinder Cadillac automobile has spread to the Far North, for there was shipped on the steamship City of Seattle last Monday night, a new eight-cylinder Cadillac touring car, bound for Dawson, Yukon Territory. To reach its purchaser, George F. Johnson, president of the Klondike Thawing Machine company, the car, securely crated, must go 1,000 miles by ocean-going steamship to Skagway, Alaska; then 110 miles over the White Pass & Yukon railway; then 460 miles down the mighty Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson. Its delivery will mark an interesting chapter in western automobile history, for seldom, if ever, has a Seattle dealer sold a motor car to so distant a customer.
"And around the sale there is a bit of interesting history. One morning M. S. Brigham, president of the Brigham Motor Car company, of Seattle, received a cablegram from Mr. Johnson, making enquiries for an eight-cylinder Cadillac touring car. Mr. Brigham replied that one could be shipped immediately, and the following day he received another cablegram from the North advising him that the money was awaiting him in a local bank and to ship the car on the first boat sailing for Skagway.
"There was some fast moving about the Cadillac distributing agency getting the car ready for its long journey to the North, and when the steamship City of Seattle was ready to sail for Skagway, the eight-cylinder Cadillac was aboard.
"The sale is one of which Mr. Brigham is very proud, for it offers the strongest evidence of the world-wide fame of the eight-cylinder Cadillac and the faith of the Dawson man in the product of the Cadillac factory."
Even discounting the rather flambouyant writing that was common in that day, the 1915 model year was significant in Cadillac's evolution as a luxury car. The photo to the right shows the type of car that Mr. Johnson bought, a 7-passenger open-bodied touring car, as seen in a 1915 brochure. Perhaps he even saw the Cadillac magazine advertisement that ended with this statement: "With rough roads largely robbed of their terrors, and good roads made almost doubly delightful - with hills no longer to be dreaded and with gear shifting practically eliminated - with a new and astonishingly active acceleration, always to be relied upon - touring in the Eight-Cylinder Cadillac becomes an unalloyed delight." As well as the powerful new engine in 1915 (the first V-8 to be installed in a production car), the steering position was moved to the left side of the car.
The Klondike Thawing Machine Company, owned by George Frederick Johnson, started operation in Dawson City in about 1902. It manufactured machinery to thaw frozen ground in the gold fields with steam so it could be mined. It ceased operation in about 1927.
The coastal steamer that took the car from Seattle to Skagway was one of the classics.
Launched in May 1890, she was built for for the Puget Sound & Alaska Steamship Company, at a cost of $225,000. She was laid up 4 years later due to high operating costs, but was re-launched in 1897 to take advantage of the Klondike gold rush boom. She served the west coast until 1921, then was moved back east, where she worked until being scrapped in 1937.