Issue: 2017-03-08, PHOTO: courtesy of Peter Gould
In 1982, the Goulds installed this former Clinton Creek house in its present location.
Clinton Creek was one of the last company towns in the Yukon, part of a cluster that included Elsa and Faro. The mines in Clinton Creek and Faro were developed about the same time, but Clinton Creek had the misfortune to be based on mining asbestos, while Faro was mainly lead and zinc. A version of that town is still there, trying to redefine itself, with people living in houses built by the company in its heyday.
If you want to see the houses that were in Clinton Creek, you’ll find a lot of them in Dawson City. Take our house, for instance. Peter Gould tells me it was one of two three-bedroom bungalow staff homes brought to Dawson in 1982.
One was plopped on our double lot on Seventh Avenue and the other served as the first office at the Gold Rush Campground, until it was moved out to the Hunker Creek Road to be a staff house for the Gould’s gold mine.
Both had been cut in two for transport and ours was assembled for Susan Gould (now Herrmann) next to her parents’ home.
By the time we decided to buy it from her we had spent a decade living in various Yukon Housing units: an army style PMQ (which is army lingo for permanent married/ military quarters) in Beaver Creek; a double-wide trailer in Faro, and a duplex here in Dawson. It was either get out of the cramped duplex or move, so we went house hunting in the spring of 1986, and settled on this place after eliminating other options.
It wasn’t quite what we wanted, so we began what would become the gradual evolution of our house. The first addition was two rooms on the back end (my study being one of them), along with a rearrangement of the kitchen and laundry room and the elimination of a separate dining room. The kids were still pre-school and shared one of the three bedrooms for a while, but their sleep habits were different enough that this didn’t last past the first year.
By 1992, things were getting crowded. One bathroom was proving insufficient for four people, and we really needed to get the piano out of the living room. Also, the relatively flat roof was causing problems with snow build up and some leaking in the spring.
The solution seemed to be a second floor: three larger bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, plus an ensuite for the parents and a deck off the master bedroom. Part of the hallway on the first floor was sacrificed for the stairs.
This all required a second mortgage, but we had a lot of the first one paid off, so that wasn’t too difficult to arrange. We settled in for another nine years after that, with one of the downstairs bedrooms becoming a music room for the piano and my guitars, and the other my wife’s study.
By 2001, however, that big detached deck on the front of the house was deteriorating and we decided that a verandah running across the entire front of the house would cut down on the seasonal evening sun glare and provide what amounted to a sheltered outdoor living room in the summer.
This addition we were able to finance without any assistance, and it made a serious difference to the house, pulling together all the things we had done to it over the years. All of a sudden groups of tourists walking by on their way to Jack London’s and Robert Service’s cabins were stopping to look at the place and snap photographs. We were surprised.
Since then, it’s all been maintenance – the bane of any home owner – but it’s our home, and we like it.