Map to the gold fields

Passage routes marked in red which includes the “Chilcoot Pass” and the “White Pass”

Sid’s days off consist of visiting with other locals at coffee time, doing several dump runs in a day and shuffling his classic cars around his yard. Today, Sid gathers a few items from around his house to give the appearance that he needs to go to the Beaver Creek dump, located north of the Canadian customs building. Because the customs building is so close to Beaver Creek, it is a bit of a hassle for locals to go to the dump, or to their camps and lands. But nonetheless, we jump in Sid’s old jeep and make the short trek. As soon as we approach the dumpsite, crows flee the scene in great quantities.

We can always find something there, whether it’s in the free store or buried deep beneath the heap of metal scraps. Who knew visiting the local dump with Sid would grow into an afternoon adventure? There’s danger at every turn, especially if you’re like us and enjoy climbing over and under the massive piles of crushed vehicles. The Yukon is known for its harsh climate, unruly wilderness and adventurous early settlers seeking gold.  After a busy afternoon at the dump we return to Sid’s where he wants to show me something. It’s a map. Like much of Sid’s collection, this map is of the Klondike gold fields.

“Several companies made these kinds of maps to give away to people heading to Alaska for the Gold Rush – into the gold fields,” Sid tells me. “This map was made before Yukon existed! It was British possession and Yukon wouldn’t exist for another year.” The copyright for the map is dated 1897, but Yukon wouldn’t join Confederation until 1898. “It’s a fold-up map so it’s easy to put in your pocket,” Sid says while he demonstrates how to fold it properly.

While I’m snapping pictures of the map, I ask Sid what the advertisements were.
“Advertisements on things like maps was normal. Johnson made a vinegar, furniture wax, car wax. I have a few car wax cans by Johnson in the museum.”

There’s something else unusual about this map. It has a name written in fine pencil in its margin.
“I never knew what that meant or who that was,” Sid says about the name. A quick Google search confirmed that the name Cherry Malotte refers to a fictional character in a 1942 film, The Spoilers, starring Marlene Dietrich as Cherry Malotte. Set in Nome, Alaska, during the Gold Rush, the name written on Sid’s map is unusually relevant to the map itself. “I’m happy you were able to find what it meant! It adds to the history of this map!”

Whether it’s scavenging automotive parts from the local dump, or discovering history through an old map, Sid is always looking for adventure to share.

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