Telegraph Office

Telegraph Office

Two story log cabin

Pointed roof. Red painted trim around doors and windows. Covered porch and one story addition on the back with a sloped roof.

Whitehorse's second telegraph office is located along the waterfront. The log building was constructed in 1900 to accommodate the changing needs of the town. The first telegraph office was built in 1899 across the river on the east bank of the Yukon River which was the original townsite for Whitehorse. The town shifted across the river once the White Pass & Yukon Route completed its railroad and situated the station on the west bank. To save on construction costs the doors, windows and most of anything that was removable was stripped from the old building to be used on the new telegraph office.

The new building served both as the telegraph office and as the residence for its operators. The head operator, George Fleming, lived in the building until his retirement in 1923 and was succeeded by Bruce Watson who held the position until 1927. At which point the telegraph office was moved to two neighbouring houses which have since been demolished. The log cabin was left vacant and for a short while the RCMP made use of the building in the late 1920's. The Boy Scouts also made use of the building as their headquarters for a few years. In the 1950's the building was leased by the Yukon Historical Society and functioned as the museum from 1952 until 1966.

As a result of the many functions of this building, there have been numerous and undocumented changes to the building's interior. This is not uncommon in telegraph offices across Canada, almost none of which have maintained their original interiors. As the telegraph became obsolete, most telegraph offices were renovated and utilized for other purposes.

Unfortunately, the museum does not have any photographs of the original interior of the telegraph office. Artifacts are on display to give visitors a sense of what the residence may have looked like. This section of the interior that functioned as the office remains a mystery. The museum does have a list of items that were at the office in 1924. In the next phase of restoration the office will be recreated using that list.

The Old Government Telegraph office also known as the Dominion Telegraph Office is the oldest original building on 1st Avenue. A popular and important method to relay messages 'Outside'. The telegraph line ran from Vancouver through Ashcroft, B.C. to Whitehorse and north to Dawson City along the Yukon River, connecting the Yukon with southern and eastern Canada.

Institution

MacBride Museum of Yukon History, Whitehorse

Accession Number

2006.31.1

rollover rollover