It took vision, bold character, a touch of theatrics, and a lot of money. Big Joe Boyle had all of these qualities and more. Thus, in the winter of 1904, Boyle and ten other Klondikers set out for a 23 day trip to Ottawa. They weren't going to play politics...they were going to play hockey.
In the winter of 1904-05, the Ottawa Silver Seven held title to the Stanley Cup. In the Klondike, hockey was big. The competition was so fierce that local promoters were looking for bigger challenges. Joe Boyle, who had made a fortune in mining, put together a team of seven players, two subs and a playing coach, and challenged Ottawa for the Stanley Cup. The team walked to Whitehorse, took the train to Skagway, a boat to Vancouver and the train to Ottawa, arriving on January 12, 1905.
The next day, game one of the best-of-three was played in the Deys arena in downtown Ottawa. Though badly beaten by a score of 9 - 2, the Klondikers impressed the local press who gave them credit for a job well done, considering the arduous journey they had just completed. Frank MacGee, Captain of the Ottawa team, was a superstar of his day.
Norm Watt, one of the Klondikers, said to an Ottawa reporter after game one... "who the hell is Frank MacGee, he don't look like much to me". Watt would regret that statement for the rest of his days. The final score in game two was Ottawa 23, the Klondikers 2. "Not much" Frank MacGee scored 14 goals...still a Stanley Cup record.
Well, they didn't win the Stanley Cup...these plucky boys from the land of gold. But the two games against the Silver Seven didn't end their hockey tour. They continued to play exhibition games as far east as Nova Scotia and as far south as Pittsburgh. In total, 23 games were played with the Klondikers winning 12, losing 10 and tieing one.
When they returned to Dawson, from Whitehorse on foot, in mid-April, they had covered more than 13 thousand miles. Perhaps that is a Stanley Cup record, considering their various modes of transportation.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
Imagine a railway running from Dawson City , along the Klondike river and up the Bonanza Creek valley to Grand Forks and beyond. Sounds like a tourist train dream these days. Back in the early 1900s it was a reality. But not as a tourist train.
The Klondike Mines Railway was a narrow gauge train designed to carry passengers and freight to and from the gold fields near Dawson.
Thomas O’Brien, owner of the O’Brien Brewery, was granted a federal railway charter in 1899. A survey for the railway route was made that year, but the company didn’t try to find investors.
Then in 1902, Erastus Corning Hawkins, the former chief engineer for the White Pass and Yukon Route, was hired to promote the railway. In 1904, he arranged for two British shipping magnates to invest in the route. The first of three engines was bought secondhand from White Pass Railway for $12,000.
Construction began in 1905. The first railroad journey to the creeks was underway on September 4, 1905, and ran thirteen miles to Grand Forks . By October, the rail arrived in Sulphur Springs, about thirty miles from Dawson .
The train carried mail, wood, groceries, passengers, and heavy equipment from Dawson City, up Bonanza Creek , to the depot at Sulphur Springs near King Solomon Dome. Railroad stations were built in Dawson City, Grand Forks, and Sulphur Springs. In Klondike City, near Dawson, the maintenance yard had a roundhouse, inspection pits and coal bunkers.
It was a tough country for a railroad. Beyond Grand Forks the railway made the difficult climb from the valley bottom. In the winter, the wind blew so much snow on the tracks that it often blocked the train, and made travel unreliable. But horse-drawn sleighs were able to operate, so teamsters got most of the small business.
By 1907, the owners decided to shut down winter operations. After 1908, most of the Klondike mining railroad’s work was hauling cordwood and machinery for the dredges. Then, in 1911, passenger service ended.
In October 1913, the Klondike Mines Railway ran for the last time. The stock and rail lines were owned by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation from 1925 until 1961. The company then donated the last of the three engines to the Dawson City Museum, where it can be seen today - a reminder of the days when rails ran the route from Dawson City to the gold fields.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
|January 17, 1905
→ January 18, 1905
|Ottawa discharges 30 members of the government service in the administration building and on the creeks. This is the most sweeping order that has ever come to the Yukon. The names of the concerned government employes are published in the January 18 issue.|
|January 18, 1905||George Black, attorney of Whitehorse, is nominated by the independent party as candidate for the Yukon council.|
|January 25, 1905||It is announced that the Klondike Creeks railroad running to Grand Forks will start from Dawson proper instead of from Klondike City as primarily intended.|
|January 28, 1905||Rev. J. A. Sinclair, M.A., first presbyterian Minister at Whitehorse, passes away January 15, 1905 in Regina. Sinclair built the Presbyterian church in Whitehorse in 1903, the Bennett Presbyterian church in 1899 and in 1898 he was pastor of the Presbyterian congregation in Skagway.|
|January 30, 1905||The proposition to annex Yukon to British Columbia is looked upon in favour, as by that means the Yukon would escape from "present political turmoil" and cut heavy expenses. It is also argued that annexation would put the "very desirable" British Columbia laws in effect.|
|February 1, 1905||The federal government spend $11,500 to improve Five Fingers and Rink rapids.|
|February 8, 1905||Alfred Thompson is elected Yukon MP by a majority of 618 votes.|
|February 9, 1905||Joe Clarke is nominated by the nondescript convention, composed of neither liberals, conservatives not independents for candidate for the Yukon council.|
|February 9, 1905||The Detroit-Yukon mining company purchases the Boyle's and William's concession. The American branch of the Rothschild's family is backing the Detroit-Yukon Mining company.|
|March 14, 1905||W. MacPherson is appointed director of surveys for the Yukon. He succeeds C.C. Chattaway.|
|March 22, 1905||The steamer Casca is purchased by the White Pass company from William Rannie. The purchase gives White Pass control of all steamers regularly operated on the upper Yukon river, between Whitehorse and Dawson.|
|March 29, 1905||Robert Lowe is the unanimous choice of the Whitehorse district as candidate for the April 12th election to the Yukon council.|
|April 11, 1905||W.F. Thompson revives the temporarily defunct Yukon Sun which is now issued as a weekly paper.|
|April 13, 1905
→ August 25, 1905
|The members of the Yukon council are elected: In North Dawson Henry C. Macaulay defeats N.F. Hagel, in South Dawson T.W. O'Brien defeats Joseph A. Clarke. In Bonanza sub-district Richard Gillespie receives majority over C. Reid. George Black is elected by acclamation in the Dominion sub-district. The council holds its first meeting August 24, 1905.|
|May 24, 1907||On May 23, 1905, the town of Whitehorse is partially destroyed by fire. The damage is estimated at $300,000.|
|August 9, 1905||A tunnel is driven 400 feet down Mountain Pierce to extract its rich body ore.|
|August 30, 1905||The building previously occupied by the Bennett News Co. is removed from Front Street.|
|September 7, 1905||George Black, member of the Yukon Council, proposes a wholly elective council. Councilman Lowe opposed the resolution as conditions, population and finances of the territory don't justify it.|
|September 14, 1905||All the Dawson merchants form a combine to regulate prices. The combine goes into effect September 25, 1905.|
|September 16, 1905||A.J. MacPherson, formerly Yukon government surveyor, is appointed provincial engineer for Saskatchewan.|
|September 18, 1905||A fire on September 14, 1905 destroys the entire business district of the town of Nome. The damage is estimated at $500,000. Many are bankrupt as a result of the fire.|
|September 26, 1905||E.C. Senkler, gold commissioner, is married to Emma McFarlane.|
|October 3, 1905||It is announced that Dawson will receive magazines and newspapers during the winter 1905/06.|
|October 5, 1905||Steamer White Horse leaving on October 8, 1905 for Dawson is the last down river steamer of the season.|
|October 14, 1905||The sawmill at Caribou burns to the ground. The estimated damage is $30,000.|
|October 24, 1905||The Yukon gold output for the 1905 season is $7,758,904,80. This reckons gold at $16 per ounce.|
|November 17, 1905||Rev. I.O. Stringer of Winnipeg is elected bishop of the diocese of Selkirk November 16, 1905. He follows Bishop Bompas who resigned because of old age.|
|November 17, 1905||Tagish Charley, an Indian wellknown throughout the Yukon, dies November 12, 1905.|
|November 28, 1905||The new directors of the North Star Athletic Association are Robert Lowe, Dr. P.E. Scharschmidt, Percy R. Peele, G.B. Edwards, Robert Smart, G.D. Reid, J. Fairborns, H. Tylor.|
|December 26, 1905||The steamer Portland goes ashore on Spire rock December 21, 1905 and is completely destroyed.|