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The Yukon River Sternwheeler Gold Star

by Murray Lundberg

Northern Ships and Shipping

The information on the Seattle No. 3 that follows is simply a cut-and-paste from my database, compiled from a wide variety of sources, primarily the White Pass & Yukon Route corporate records (COR 722) at the Yukon Archives and newspapers including the Klondike Nugget (KN) and the Yukon Star.
  • Canadian Shipping Registry #107856 (107852?), registered at Dawson.

  • wooden sternwheeler; 94.0 feet long, with 22.0 foot beam and 3.4 foot hold. Gross tonnage 168.36, registered as 98.98 tons (Affleck); COR 754 reports her as 98.92 tons net, licenced for 135 passengers.

  • powered by a pair of horizontal high-pressure steam engines built by United Engineering Works in San Francisco; the cylinders had 10 inch diameter and 48 inch stroke, rated at 6.6 NHP.

  • 1898, built at St. Michael for the Gold Star Transportation Company (Affleck).

  • June 1898, advertised as connecting with the Ladue Yukon Transportation Company steamers Grace Dollar and Morgan City, and offering "the same elegance of equipment, the same capability in the service, and the same thoughtful attendance to the wants of the company's guests" as the coastal ships (Overland Monthly, June 1898).

  • 1898, Engineer was W. Wright, who had formerly been with the Northern Pacific Railway.

  • September 8, 1898, arrived at Dawson for the first time (MacBride).

  • May 14, 1900, sitting at Five Fingers, "five or six feet out of the water" (Sun, May 22).

  • August 1900, owned by Captain Charles Blaise "Charlie" Turgeon; operated on the Whitehorse-Dawson run. Turgeon had been in the Yukon since ca. 1893, had several claims in the Klondike.

  • probably in 1900, Turgeon sunk the boat, losing a cargo valued at $100,000. He paid off the debt, but never recovered financially (Gold & Galena).

  • seems to have been sold by Turgeon in late 1900; was then operated on the Whitehorse-Dawson run by the Canadian Development Company.

  • September 1900, sank at Five Finger Rapids while under command of Captain William Turnbull (MacBride).

  • 1900-1901, wintered in a slough above Whitehorse.

  • 1901, bought by Captain Thomas C. Nixon and William Mogridge of Fort Selkirk (Affleck).

  • March 13, 1901: "The Gold Star, owned by Captain Nixon, is in the slough above town. Last season she was in the employ of the C. D. Co. Plans are being made to lengthen her out, thus increasing her freight capacity." (The White Horse Star)

  • 1902, engines installed in the Thistle (#107867) (Affleck).

  • 1904, operating on the Koyukuk River (MacBride).

  • 1906, operating on the Dawson-Fairbanks run (MacBride).

  • wrecked in the Tanana River, 15 miles below Chena.

Yukon River sternwheeler Gold Star, 1900
The Gold Star at Dawson, ca. 1900. The Bailey and Yukoner are behind her.
Photo by H. J. Woodside (Yukon Archives #484)