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The Sternwheeler Yukon

by Murray Lundberg

Northern Ships and Shipping

The information on the 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

  • U.S. Shipping Registry #165172

  • wooden sternwheeler; 169.8 feet long, with 35.3 foot beam and 5.9 foot hold. Gross tonnage 651 (Affleck says 642), registered as 613 tons. One deck, sharp head and square stern.

  • powered by a pair of horizontal high-pressure steam engines built by Seattle Machine Works; the cylinders had 16 inch diameter and 72 inch stroke, rated at 17 NHP, 400 IHP.

  • 1913, Alaska and Yukon were built at Whitehorse by BYN crews for the newly-formed American Yukon Navigation Company; Affleck says that they were built (prefabricated?) at Seattle by Nilson & Kelez.

  • 1913-1914, wintered at Hootalinqua, in order to make the earliest trip direct to Fairbanks. The round trip from Whitehorse to Fairbanks was 1,950 miles (COR722).

  • 1914, Master was John C. Green.

  • 1914-1920, used on the Dawson-Fairbanks run; wintered at Whitehorse, so the first run of the season was Whitehorse-Fairbanks.

  • 1915, converted to burn oil, and wheel changed from one with 14 buckets to one with 17 (COR722).

  • 1917 season crew: purser, Jack Enright.

  • 1917, false ceilings built into the Texas deck rooms, to keep them cooler in the summer (COR722).

  • On October 25, 1918, 87 employees of the White Pass & Yukon Route died in the sinking of the Princess Sophia, including 15 crew members of the Yukon: J. Abelsen, deckhand; A.W. Anthony, deckhand; J. Bowker, second engineer; J.W. Brown, fireman; L.E. Clark, deckhand; Charles Craven, fireman; R. Finlay, deckhand; Capt. John C. Green, master; A.J. Greeny, deckhand; H.J. Kenyon, deckhand; Sam Koulouris, deckhand; J. Santaine, chief engineer; D. Solomeyer, fireman; W.A. Thompson, purser; R.W. Williams, waiter.

  • 1919, used for the BYN's Midnight Sun excursions from Whitehorse to Fort Yukon; the Texas deck had 8 more rooms added to it (COR722).

  • from 1924, Yukon was the AYNCo.'s only boat.

  • 1929, received major work, including engine overhaul, 22 timbers replaced, etc. "The fruit house on the after end of the Yukon's Texas was raised to provide for the installation of bunks and the house turned over to the Steward's Department for use in sleeping members of that crew not already provided with adequate sleeping quarters." (COR723).

  • 1929, making 2 round trips per month between Dawson and Nenana (COR723).

  • 1935, captain for first seven trips season was McCann; then he was replaced by Newcomb.

  • 1930, new flush toilets installed, and screen doors put on all the texas deck rooms.

  • 1935, lengthened 6 feet in the bow (COR723).

  • 1935, while travelling through heavy ice on Lake Laberge on the way to the lower river, the hull was cracked. "Boat was beached and men dispatched to telegraph office at Lower Laberge to wire for assistance." White Horse was sent out with repair materials, and was guided through the broken ice by the company's airplane (COR723)

  • 1936, Affleck says that she was rebuilt to 211 x 30 feet, 1.067 tons gross, 648 tons net; this is almost certainly incorrect.

  • 1936, manned by a crew of 34.

  • 1936, rebuilt at Eagle.

  • 1942, the Alaska Yukon Navigation Co. dissolved, and the Yukon was sold to the Alaska Railroad.

Yukon River sternwheeler Yukon

Yukon River sternwheeler Yukon