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Paddlewheelers of Past Yukon Days"

Updated on June 7, 2012
© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Welcome One and All

I must be going for some sort of record here as this is the third hub today.

Gather around I would like to share something with you of what I know of these Northern Pioneers that once plied the Yukon River and opened so many regions and people to the Gold Fields of the Yukon during the Great Gold Rush era in the late 1800's.

I had the privilege of having the security contract to guard the last to travel the Yukon River in 1955. The S.S. Klondike was her name and she stands today in dry dock and restored to original beauty.

Source

The SS Klondike

Today she sits on dry dock nest to the river that she worked on for many years. She in her time was the Lady of the North and carried all persons who had the fair. Stately accommodations, full meal service and luxury of the day were many.

I had the privilege of walking every inch of her during the several year restoration project. I spent countless hours in her wheelhouse watching the river pass. I have attached a video for you telling you her historic life.

Please enjoy as it is a story I can not do justice of.

Excellent Video

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Great Loss

Above is the picture of the SS Casca and the SS Whitehorse as they ended their time on the banks of the river.

It was a sad day and many stood with tear filled eyes as they burnt that day. There were all sorts of speculations as to what happened. It was concluded the fire was caused by soe squatters who had decided to make one of them their home.

The SS Klondike had sat right next to these two and we were lucky it had been moved up river to its permanent resting place a few years before. Today all that is left are the memories of the day this picture was taken. After several years of being out of the water they were tinder dry and went quickly.

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Final Journey

It was a sight to see something this large slowly being pulled along the streets of Whitehorse with the D-8 Caterpillars on well greased skids. It filled the street with only a few feet to spare on either side.

I recall the day as many gathered to watch what had been said would be near impossible. It was an impressive sight to watch her be on the move again. Her final resting place close to a mile up river where she sits today.

Thank you SS Klondike for the many memories and may you live on for many more years as grand as the day you plied the river.

Hank Karr and his song Paddelwheeler

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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi Rolly, such a shame that those wonderful boats no longer go up and down the river. I loved the videos, and now have that song in my head! lol! here's a strange connection for you, my grandmother was born in the Klondike! no not the place, just a road that was named the Klondike! I have no idea why, maybe the builder was from there? great hub, nell

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Nell... thanks as always for the comment and sharing with us about Grams. The Klondike at one time was the hub of all activity in the Yukon. The riverboats I never did watch on the river but those nights that I stood i the wheelhouse took me places in my imagination. They must have been a sight to watch travelling up and down the river.

      Hugs from Canada

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Hello Rolly, That was my first time to see the Yukon River. Very interesting, I enjoyed the video, watching the boats. You must have fond memories of the time you spent on the boat. You have done so many things in your life, it's always a pleasure to read about your adventures...

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Good morning Always... it is a large river. 1980 miles long actually and very productive for fishing and recreation. I generally took anywhere from two to four weeks a year. Starting at a new location each year and drifted most of it over the years in a canoe. Awesome experience, man and his dog just fishing and camping anywhere that suited the day.

      Hugs from Canada

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

      Most of those old ships were quite majestic, the interiors were likely mostly varnished wood with ornate wood furniture, having it's own unique splendure! No doubt you couldn't measure the amount of man hours and hard work it took to build and maintain these remarkable vessles, no wonder they cried when they caught fire!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi wba108... you are so right. The staterooms and parlour on this old girl were of such quality and workmanship most who studied them would lovingly run their fingers over the work.

      They had a full compliment of staf who catered to the needs of the passengers and yes they were very majestic... Thanks for stopping and commenting. Good to have you at the Fireside.

      Hugs from Canada

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      It was a great loss when two of those magnificent ships were burned. I'm glad one survived. If it could speak, it would have great tales to tell.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi christopheranton... I agree and it was a very sad day for many in the isolated community who had come to love them. They were some very impressive ships... Thanks for stopping by and say hello.

      Hugs from Canada

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