The Klondike is known for permafrost-distorted buildings. The twisted shapes of older structures inspired the artistic career of Jim Robb — as a young artist he visited Dawson and was gob smacked by what he saw. He turned his amazement into a style and has worked with it ever since, to the delight of us all.There are other significant sights around Dawson that have not managed to generate the same sort of cultural impact.There are places where abandoned and rusting, or genteelly decaying machinery and vehicles would be greeted with municipal outrage, but Dawson is not one of those places.Just down the street from my house an ancient rusty, reddish half-ton truck sits on a neighbour’s lawn. It’s a funny substitute for a garden gnome, yet it serves the same end. It gives the impression that it was not simply left there, but that it has an aesthetic purpose. Whether in summer, with grass growing in and around it, or in winter, shrouded with snow, it seems to belong right where it is. I would miss it if the family removed it.Just behind the Yukon Hotel, at the corner of Front and Church Street, sits a slowly decaying delivery wagon from the O’Brien Brewery in Klondike City (Tro’chëk), a reminder that Yukoners’ legendary desire to consume brews goes back to the very beginning of the modern territory.Dredge buckets of various sizes are all over town. None of them are as large as the ones out by Dredge No. 4, but they are still impressive reminders of the Klondike’s corporate gold mining era. Some mark driveways. Still others, like the ones at the Goldrush Campground, not only mark RV parking spaces but also serve as attractive flowerpots. Speaking of flowers, one of my favorite random sites this summer is an aging D8-Cat, which has been sitting on the high side of Mary McLeod Road for many years, sometimes wrapped in white, sometimes almost obscured by greenery. It’s like the ghost of a small-time contractor, or a placer miner. This may have happened before and I just didn’t notice it, but this year someone cleaned up around the cat so you can see it clearly, and decorated it with planters made from old tires and some planter boxes. It’s such a small addition to the aging orange/yellow beastie and yet it gives the old girl an entirely different appearance.I look forward to seeing it every time I have occasion to drive along that road.
About The Author
Dan Davidson retired after three decades teaching classrooms in Beaver Creek, Faro and Dawson City. For the last number of years, he has written two columns for What's Up Yukon: A Klondike Korner, where he keeps an eye on happenings in Dawson City and The Book Shelf where he shares some of his favourites and Yukon created books with us.
26 November 2015
1 November 2017
17 July 2018