Nestled between the T.A. Firth Building and a small apartment building, 308 Hanson looks like a relic from the past.
It is the only house on that section of Hanson Street.
I wondered what the street looked like when the house was new. Were there other houses on the street?
From previous research, I have learned that a lot of post-war building happened between 4th Avenue and the Clay Cliffs. Hanson was a relatively new street (being developed in the late 50s, early 60s). Howie Firth tells me 308 Hanson was built in the late 1940s.
Firth, the owner of 308 Hanson, told me about the house and its past, which is now classified as Commercial Property. It is empty right now, just waiting for the right small business to move in.
When the house was built, it was considered very modern. The basement is concrete while the main floor is frame.
Firth likes the four-by-ten-inch solid fir beams which support the downstairs ceiling. The floors throughout the upstairs are hardwood. Over the years, some renovations have been completed. Carpets, windows, new entrance stairs and lighting are the most recent improvements.
In 1901, Group 5, Group Lot 1, was a parcel of 40 acres with William W. B. M. Innes listed as the owner.
In that year, the area was resurveyed into town lots under Plan 3807. Her Majesty Queen Victoria was then listed as the owner of Lot 4, Block 23, Plan 3807.
In 1953, the property was sold to The British Yukon Railway Company. The house built on the property was used as staff housing.
And, in 1962, the property was bought by George F. Smith. Interestingly, Mrs. Marjorie Aileen Smith (a widow in 1967) sold the property to Ruperts’ Land Trading Company of Winnipeg, Manitoba for the grand price of $12,000.
Ruperts’ Land Trading was also known as the Hudson’s Bay Company Development Limited. When I arrived in Whitehorse in 1987 The Bay was still a going concern in the retail sector. It was housed in the previously owned Canadian Tire store on Ogilvie. I loved the cafeteria there – but that’s another story.
The Hudson’s Bay Company probably owned the house for staff to live in, a practice that continued until it closed in the early 90s.
The Bay kept the property for 18 years and sold it in March 1985 to Dale Schmekel for $21,500.
In 1995, Firth Brothers Contracting Ltd purchased the house. They have owned it ever since.
It is a beautiful little house. I hope it stands there for a long time. Maybe its next tenant will offer a service or goods I will want to purchase. Then I can step into the house and step into its past as a home for an early employee of White Pass.