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Tour the City of Gold - Images of Dawson City, Yukon

by Murray Lundberg

A Guide to Dawson City, Yukon

    This photo album gives a look at Dawson City and the surrounding area throughout the year. The photos, taken from my collection of about 1,000 Dawson-area images shot since 1985, are more or less in chronological order starting on June 1st - about the start of the season when most people see the Yukon.

Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it.

Dawson City, seen from the Midnight Dome Although a lot has changed in Dawson City since this photo was taken in 1991, the view from the top of the Midnight Dome looks about the same, a small town on the shore of a large river flowing through thousands of miles of wilderness.

Gold panning at Dawson City, Yukon Not surprisingly, one of the most popular activities for visitors to Dawson City is gold panning. Here are some folks looking for gold nuggets at Guggieville, located a few hundred feet from legendary Bonanza Creek - June 14, 2006 at 10:10 a.m.

This was the Red Feather Saloon as I saw it for the first time, on June 20, 1985. This is one of the images from that trip, a whirlwind tour of the Yukon and adjacent areas by small plane, that I love the most - it reminds me of "the magic & mystery" that prompted me to move from Vancouver to the Yukon 5 years later. It's a magic that is now rapidly disappearing.

Dredge No. 4 - Dawson City, Yukon The largest wooden-hulled bucketline gold dredge ever built can still be seen up Bonanza Creek. Now a National Historic Site, Dredge No. 4 is seen here on June 20, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. Our guide for this tour was probably the most-photographed man in the Yukon during this period, Dave "Buffalo" Taylor, a flambouyant character dripping with large gold nuggets.

Dredge No. 4 - Dawson City, Yukon When this photo of Dredge No. 4 was taken on August 30, 2002, the bow gantry was off while a new one was being built. That and the fact that fences had not yet been installed around the dredge made a close look at some of the fittings possible.

Dredge No. 4 - Dawson City, Yukon A tour of the interior of Dredge No. 4 on June 14, 2006.

This view up Bonanza Creek Valley was shot from the Midnight Dome on June 22, 2003 at 9:50 p.m. - yes, it really is that light in The Land of the Midnight Sun!

Parks Canada has interpretive displays of various types all over Dawson and the Klondike goldfields. Ranging from photographs to artifacts in the windows of the buildings they came from, the displays help visitors get a feel for Dawson not only in her boom years but in the period of decline that led to the capital being moved to Whitehorse.

Tom Byrne, the legendary interpreter of the poetry of Robert W. Service, performing at the Robert Service cabin in 1985.

Tom Byrne in Dawson City Tom Byrne at his cabin in North Dawson on June 23, 2003 at 5:25 p.m.

Historic Dawson building Dawson has some unique architecture - this building on Third Avenue across from the Eldorado Hotel is seen here on June 28, 2003 at 2:30 p.m.

Art's Gallery, Dawwson City Businesses come and go with depressing regularity in Dawson - this gallery on Third Avenue only lasted a year. The building is seen here on July 6, 2007 at 8:30 a.m.

The Bunk House hostel, Dawson City, Yukon Since the closure of the informal camping area in West Dawson, the Bunk House hostel has become a popular place for seasonal workers to stay. It's seen here on July 6, 2007 at 8:40 a.m.

The ferry George Black, Dawson City Loading the ferry George Black for the short trip across the Yukon River to the Top of the World Highway, which leads to Alaska. The ferry was named after a very popular early politician. The photo was taken on July 6, 2007 at 9:45 a.m. There has been talk for many years about building a bridge here (construction almost started in 2005), but the ferry is so much more interesting.

Mud streets in Dawson City Smoothing out the dirt streets on July 6, 2007 at 10:10 a.m. While the mud on wet days bothers some people, most visitors accept dirty shoes with good humour - hotel owners are less happy about the damage to carpeting.

This building, destroyed by the buckling of the permafrost it was built on, was the morgue for many years. This photo was taken in July 1991, a year before it was bulldozed.

Powered freight barge Amelia Lupine The Dawson waterfront is always interesting. On July 14, 2006 at 4:50 p.m., the powered freight barge Amelia Lupine was being hauled up on shore for hull repairs. The ferry George Black can be seen in the background.

Westminster Hotel - Dawson City, Yukon This photo of the side of the Westminster Hotel (the oldest operating hotel in the Yukon) was shot on July 15, 2006, at 8:15 a.m. I love Dawson, and it's mostly because its still genuine, in stark contrast to Skagway, Alaska, which I generally describe as "Walt Disney's version of the Klondike Gold Rush."

The wreckage of one of the historic sternwheelers rotting on the beach at "the Sternwheeler Graveyard" downriver from Dawson. July 17, 2003 at 4:00 p.m.

Crocus Bluff hiking trail Overlooking the Klondike River valley from the Crocus Bluff hiking trail. This photo was taken at noon on July 23, 2002.

Hiking above Dawson City It takes some energy to get up to this hiking trail, but the views of Dawson and the Yukon River make it well worth the effort. This photo was taken on July 23, 2002 at 5:15 p.m.

Westminster Hotel - Dawson City, Yukon Looking up 3rd Avenue past the historic Westminster Hotel a few minutes after noon on July 23, 2002.

Permafrost damaged buildings in Dawson City These buildings on Third Avenue (the "Third Avenue Complex"), seen on July 23, 2002 at 2:40 p.m., show what permafrost can do to buildings. The freezing and thawing of the upper portion of soil (the "active layer") can throw buildings, highways and trees far off vertical - if these buildings didn't lean into each other they probably would have collapsed decades ago.

Dredge No. 8 - Klondike gold fields, Yukon While Dredge No. 4 has received massive funding to renovate it, several other dredges lie rotting in the gold fields. Dredge No. 8 is seen here on August 3, 2003.

Commissioner's Residence, Dawson City The Commissioner's Residence is certainly the most impressive house in Dawson. Dating from the days when Dawson City was the capital of the Yukon (the Commissioner would be approximately equal to a state Governor in the US), it's seen here on August 3, 2003 at 5:30 p.m.

Commissioner's Residence, Dawson City The beautifully restored reception area in the Commissioner's Residence, also on August 3, 2003. The top floor has not yet been restored, which makes it very interesting in its own way.

The Dawson City Museum The Dawson City Museum, seen here on August 4, 2003 at 5:45 p.m., is housed in the historic Territorial Administration Building. The Museum displays a large collection of artifacts, from locomotives from the Klondike Mines Railway to office and courtroom displays.

The historic Yukon River sternwheeler S.S. Keno at Dawson City The historic Yukon River sternwheeler S.S. Keno, on August 4, 2007. Designed and built at Whitehorse in 1922 by the British Yukon Navigation Company, she was retired and put on the ways at Whitehorse in 1951. In August 1960, she made the last sternwheeler run in the territory, to her final resting place at Dawson.

The sternwheeler Yukon Lou at Pleasure Island, Yukon The "sternwheeler" Yukon Lou at "Pleasure Island" for a Native culture tour and salmon bake on August 8, 2002 at 6:20 p.m. The Yukon Lou was built by Captain Dick Stevenson, who came up with many unique marketing schemes including the "Sourtoe Cocktail" and the Miss Nude Yukon contest (which is when "Pleasure Island", where the contest was held, got its name).

Moosehide, Yukon Territory The village of Moosehide, just downriver from Dawson, as seen on August 8, 2002.

The bus sitting on Second Avenue in front of the Downtown Hotel was the reason I used to spend so much time in Dawson City. This photo was taken on August 9, 2002 at 11:10 a.m. as I was waiting for my tour group to meet me.

Bombay Peggy's, a former "house of ill repute", as it looked in August 1990. Captain Dick Stevenson used to joke that he hoped Parks Canada would take it over, restore it and put it back into operation. A few years after this photo was taken, the building was moved downtown, greatly expanded and opened as a bar and B&B.

Road construction and fire haze near Dawson City The summer of 2004 wasn't a really good year to visit Dawson. As well as facing many miles of road construction, visitors were met by massive forest fires in both the Yukon and Alaska which greatly reduced visibility for most of the summer. This photo was taken through my bus windshield on August 11th just after noon (I was alone, just going for fuel).

There is always a lot of work to do during the very short summer. On August 16, 2002, a painter was already at work on the historic post office at 7:15 a.m.

When I drove for Atlas Tours in the early '90s, we had enough motorcoaches on the road to justify having drivers' apartments in Dawson, Fairbanks and Anchorage rather than putting us in hotels. This photo was taken from our kitchen window in Dawson on August 29, 1990.

A tour group learns how a sluice box works at the Discovery Claim on Bonanza Creek on August 30, 2002 at noon. This is where the gold that sparked the Klondike Gold Rush was discovered in August 1896.

The action at one of the blackjack tables at Diamond Tooth Gertie's casino in 1990.

Diamond Tooth Gertie's casino Diamond Tooth Gertie's on August 30, 2002 at 9:35 p.m. The crowds of summer disappear after the mid-August Discovery Day weekend.

A cold, misty Fall morning in Dawson City A cold, misty Fall morning on Third Avenue - September 28, 2003 at 8:50 a.m.

Morning coffee on Front Street, Dawson City Morning coffee on Front Street with the temperature sitting at about -12° C. - October 10, 2003 at 10:10 a.m.

The Yukon River in the winter Life on the river continues well into winter - this photo was taken on October 18, 2002 at 11:25 a.m.

A foggy night in Dawson City The frontier architecture of Dawson takes on a mysterious look in the fog. This photo was taken on Second Avenue October 19, 2002 at 8:05 p.m.

It was as cold outside as it looked when I took this shot of the Red Feather Saloon from my room at the Eldorado Hotel on October 21, 2002 at 9:45 p.m.

Second Avenue, Dawson City Life goes back to normal when all of the tourists leave. This is Second Avenue on November 4, 2005 at 3:10 p.m.

Strait's Auction House, Dawson City This was the view down Second Avenue to the derelict Strait's Auction House on November 6, 2005 at 11:15 a.m.

Winter light in Dawson City Ice crystals in the air can diffuse the midday light, as seen here on November 6, 2005 at 11:20 a.m.

A brilliant winter day in the Yukon Winter days may be short but they can be brilliant, as seen here on Third Avenue - November 6, 2004 at 1:20 p.m.

A fur-trimmed anorak made by Cathy Wylie of Dawson Dawson is a great place to find unique Northern crafts - this fur-trimmed anorak was made by Cathy Wylie of Dawson. The photo was taken on November 6, 2004.

The Third Avenue Complex, Dawson City Looking at the Third Avenue Complex from the Red Feather Saloon on November 6, 2004 at 4:40 p.m.

King Street, Dawson City The view up King Street past the opera house and post office on November 6, 2004 at 5:05 p.m.

A winter dog-walk in Dawson City, Yukon The frozen Yukon River is popular place for Dawsonites to walk their dogs - this photo was taken on November 6, 2004 at 5:45 p.m.

Dawson ferry in the winter Here's what happens to the George Black when the ice on the Yukon River gets too thick to run safely. The ferry is hauled up the bank on wooden ramps ("ways") and left there until Spring breakup. The Top of the World Highway can be seen on the far bank in this photo, which was shot on November 15, 2002 at 3:15 p.m.

Tour bus in Dawson in the winter Here's my bus in front of the Downtown Hotel again - this time on November 23, 2003 at 3:30 p.m. as I was about to head south to Whitehorse with a kids' volleyball team. Charter buses run in all weather here - I've taken hockey teams on the 16-hour trip from Whitehorse to Anchorage in February with temperatures dropping well below -50°!

Fresh snow in Dawson City Dawson is very dry and gets little snow - about 3 inches fell the night before this shot was taken on Second Avenue on December 9, 2003 at 11:10 a.m.