A lazy morning watching the sun come up with a good cup of coffee, By 10:00 am we were at the Dawson City Museum. By far one of the best small town museums we have seen in a long time, ended up spending about 3 hrs there. All day they have programs going on, how to use a sluice box, panning for gold and then melting down the gold and pouring it into a form.
Using the sluice box with rocker arm
Panning for gold from the sluice box
The gold was then heated up to 2,000' and was then poured into a small form.
(pictures were too blurry)
Then the form was tipped upside down into water, a second later you could pick up the piece of gold and it was not even warm.
A play about a miner's meeting that actually was a trial about ........I forgot his name was accused of telling people about all the gold they would be able to get when they got to Dawson. However, when these people got to Dawson in 1898 all the claims were taken. They actually wanted to lynch him or send him out into the vast wilderness where he would surely perish or 30 lashings. This was an actual case from 1898 and the verdict was to send him out into the wilderness during the winter months. Well, some how he survived and came back to Dawson.
Other various items in the museum below
A sample of the Hudson Bay Store
How do you tell how cold it is outside way back in the late 1800's? This shows the bottles that you would have sit outside on your window sill; Quicksilver froze it was 40 Below F, ect.
Mushers "Now" on the right and "Then" on the left
As I mentioned before Dawson was/is on perma-frost. In the winter months the miners made a fire on the frozen mud and this would melt about 10 - 12 inches, they would dig that out, set another fire, waited for that to melt, dig it out and light another fire, etc. They would eventually dig down 30 - 100 feet and all that gravel and dirt they brought up would just be piled up on the side. Then in the spring when the water started flowing again they would shovel it into the sluice box. They did not know how much gold was in their piles of frozen dirt until spring. They might have had thousands or maybe not. They often had two or three holes going at one time so they could dig on one while the others were burning. These pictures will help describe the process.
As most western town they had many bars and brothels. The last brothel shut down in 1961, but during the early 1900's they had several and like all good brothels they liked to help out. (Read the title of this very carefully, I had to re-read it)
We also visited to the Steam Locomotive Shop; a rail line was put up to Bonanza Creek, but was very short lived at the gold boom was over by the early 1900's.
This was to be a little "Company Engine" Wouldn't that be fun to run around in?
They had life-like looking mannequins, especially the hands. I later learned that local people put their hand in casts for these hands, every thing was displayed extremely well.
After lunch a tour of the Grand Palace Theater, and what a grand place it was. This was build by Arizona Charlie Meadows in 1899. that saw every form of entertainment from vaudeville to silent movies. This was short lived as the gold started panning out. Today it has been refurbished (again by Parks Canada) and they now have High School Graduations there which was seven students this year. They also have a Commissioners Tea, Plays, meetings; and they will soon be having a theater group for the summer.. This is truly a beautiful building.
On stage looking out, the higher up the floors the higher the price for your ticket.
Second balcony looking at the stage
A two room appt. for the actresses
Next was a melodrama at the Grand Place Theater where you could root for the best and boo at the others. Lots of fun.
John (or Jim) Boyle
After this we barely had time to zoom over to the Fire Fighter's Museum. Very small, but very informative. Most of the engines were in working condition for parades.
The Parks Canada owns about 23 buildings and they have done a remarkable job restoring these old buildings. The town is not very large but by the time I walked all over up and down the streets during the day I am exhausted.
That's it for now, thanks for stopping by