It’s more than 110 miles across some of the toughest country in the world. It zigs and zags past snow clad mountains, frozen rivers, tundra, and wind swept coast from Anchorage to Nome. It is the Iditarod dog race. The Iditarod trail began as a mail and supply route from the Alaskan coast to the interior mining camps. Mail and supplies went in, and eventually, gold came out. On a Christmas Day in 1908, prospectors discovered gold on a tributary of the Iditarod River. The news spread, and in the summer of 1909, miners arrived in the goldfields. Iditarod boomed with hotels, cafes, three newspapers, banks, telephones, and even automobiles. In 1925, the trail became a life-saving highway for the people of Nome when a diphtheria epidemic threatened the community. Serum had to be delivered by dog team. By the 1930s, the gold was gone. Iditarod became a ghost town.
Then, renewal when the Iditarod trail sled dog race first ran to Nome in 1973. Over the years there have been many memories. Twenty-two mushers finished in 1973, and since then there have been more than four hundred finishers from Canada, the United States, and around the rest of the world. Rick Swenson of Two Rivers Alaska, the only five-time winner, and the only musher to have entered twenty Iditarod races. He has never finished out of the top ten. The most improbable winner was Dick Mackey from Nenana, who in 1978 beat Rick Swenson by one second after two weeks on the trail. Then there was Norman Vaughan, who at the age of eighty-eight has finished the race four times. And there is Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985. The Iditarod, which became known as The Last Great Race, fittingly features competitors from around the world.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin
“For the first time in our 68-year history, Trade and Commerce magazine features three notable Yukon citizens on our cover. Noting the 75th Anniversary of the Yukon Territory, and the 75th Anniversary of the Yukon Gold Rush, we have symbolized the Yukon today with James Smith, Commissioner of the Yukon Territory (representing government), Rolf Hougen, (left)President of Hougen’s Ltd., Whitehorse Motors Ltd., and WHTV (representing Commerce) and Al Kapty (centre) president of T.N.T.A. Ltd., Total North Communications Ltd., and current president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce (representing industry). In the foreground is one of T.N.T.A.’s seven Jet Ranger Helicopters, and in the background is the modern City of Whitehorse, situated alongside of the mighty Yukon River that swept the stampeders to Dawson City just 75 years ago.”
– Trade and Commerce Magazine
– Star photo
In 1970, Rolf Hougen set up a committee to “Save the Riverboats”.
By 1973, volunteers and persons employed under the federal government
FLIP grants, scraped and painted, restored decks and windows and built
high steel fence around the Casca and Whitehorse to protect them.
Seen here, in August of 1973 Erik, Maureen, Greta, Karen and Rolf in
Prince Rupert. Marg took the photo.
|January 15, 1973||Bill MacBride, who was honoured by having the museum named after him, passes away January 12, 1973 in Vancouver. He had retired in 1961 after spending much of his career with the White Pass Company.|
|February 7, 1973||Pete Huley passes away in Vancouver at the age of 80.|
|February 14, 1973||Yukon Native Brotherhood Chief Elijah Smith and twelve chiefs travel to Ottawa to meet Prime Minister Trudeau to present the Yukon land claim. They are accompanied by David Joe, Executive Director of the YNB and legal advisor Allen Luek.|
|February 19, 1973||Yukon territorial council passes a motion to change the time zone in western Yukon so that all communities, including Beaver Creek and Dawson City, have the same time as Whitehorse (Pacific Standard Time).|
|February 22, 1973||Mr. And Mrs. Jack MacDonald are Mr. and Mrs. Yukon 1973.|
|March 9, 1973||Whitehorse welcomes one thousand athletes for the Polar Games from northern communities including Ft. Nelson and Fairbanks.|
|April 6, 1973||Construction starts at the Bailey Bridge to be erected alongside the Robert Campbell Bridge across the Yukon River. City Manager Bob Byron says the one way traffic across the NCPC dam and one way traffic on the temporary Bailey Bridge next to the Robert Campbell Bridge which is undergoing repairs, will continue for the next six months.|
|April 9, 1973||Anne Murray arrives in Whitehorse. She and her band give a concert on April 10, 1973 at the F.H. Collins School auditorium witth a CBC sponsored performance. The gym is packed.|
|April 16, 1973||Dr. Hilda Hellaby is invested into the Order of Canada on April 11, 1973 by Governor-General Roland Michener. She is the first Yukoner to receive the order.|
|April 25, 1973||The Northern Development Minister Jean Chretien gives green light to the Aishihik hydro-electric power project. (see also March 30, 1972)|
|April 30, 1973
→ May 16, 1973
→ June 6, 1973
|Rolf Hougen releases the news that the sternwheelers Casca and Whitehorse get a facelift thanks to a Local Incentives Program grant in the amount of $40,000 from the federal government. (see also January 7, 1971) The Whitehorse Star issues a special edition on this account May 16, 1973. Work starts immediately to restore the exteriors of the riverboats Casca and Whitehorse and to protect them by erecting a fence. May 28, 1973, the city council turns down Rolf Hougen's resolution to buy the riverboats Whitehorse and Casca for $1. Aldermen Jim Howatt, Clive Boyd and John Watt expressed opposition to the Riverboat Restoration Project.|
|May 9, 1973||Veteran Klondike Newsman Helmer Samuelson passes away in Whitehorse at the age of 64.|
|May 11, 1973||A Winnipeg-based firm, Federal Industries Ltd., announces May 10, 1973 that it has purchased 26 per cent of the White Pass and Yukon Corporation Ltd. shares. Federal Industries makes an offer to the remaining shareholders to purchase additional shares with the goal to own 50.3 per cent of the common shares in the company. Over 50% was subscribed and in July change of control was confirmed.|
|June 1, 1973||The MacBride Museum opens to the public May 31, 1973.|
|June 6, 1973||Six mountains in the Hart-Blackstone River country, about 75 miles north of Dawson City, are named after early-day RNWMP members who served in the Yukon. The members are: W.J.D. Dempster, J.F. Fyfe, F. Turner, Sam Carter, G.F. Kinney, Howard Hopper Cronkhite.|
|June 11, 1973||Former Dawson City mayor Mike Comadina passes away in Prince Rupert. He spent 39 years in the Yukon.|
|July 11, 1973
→ July 13, 1973
→ July 20, 1973
→ July 25, 1973
→ August 1, 1973
→ September 21, 1973
|1973 is a tumultous year for Whitehorse city council. As of July 11, 1973, the city of Whitehorse has no longer an elected government: five alderman involved in a legal battle with the Yukon territorial government resign July 9, 1973, leaving the city without a quorum. Clive Boyd, Alder Hunter, Steve Henke, Paul Lucier, Jim Howatt, resign over a dispute with the Executive Council of Yukon Territorial Government. The executive council consisted of Norm Chamberlist, Hilda Watson, Assistant Commissioner Merv Miller, Commissioner James Smith. Paidraig O'Donoghue is YTG legal advisor. The dispute centres around purchase of Main Steele lots. Two days later, on July 11, 1973, James Smith appoints an administrator to the city of Whitehorse. The administrator is Joseph Oliver.Mayor Wybrew is fired. City manager Bob Byron stays on. On July 20, 1973, a taxpayer's advisory committee to the city administration is appointed by the territorial government. The committee consists of former alderman John Watt, Doe Simpson, Robert Campbell, Pat O'Connor, A.R. Helm. The committee assist Joe Oliver. 300 residents of Whitehorse gather July 23, 1973 outside city hall to show support for the city administration deposed by the YTG executive committee. On August 1, 1973, a by-election for city council is called for September 20, 1973. Eventually, on September 21, 1973, Whitehorse's new city council is sworn into office with mayor Bert Wybrew re-elected as mayor. Aldermen are Paul Lucier, John Watt, Olive Pociwauschuk, Chuck Hankins, Peter Patrick and Al Wright. Whitehorse City Manager Bob Byron resigned in September following election on new mayor and council.|
|August 4, 1973||Joe Ladue, 83, is killed in a car accident August 3, 1973.|
|August 7, 1973||Former Riverboat pilot Frank Pilot dies September 6, 1973 at the age of 77.|
|August 8, 1973||Bank service starts in Carmacks August 17, 1973 and in Haines Junction August 15, 1973 with the opening of the Canadian Imperial Bank.|
|August 31, 1973||Murray Bleackley is the first Yukoner in history to become a Catholic priest. He is ordained in Whitehorse September 15, 1973.|
|September 5, 1973||The city administrator and his advisory committee agree to replace the Robert Campbell bridge with a two lane, 28 foot bridge.|
|September 5, 1973||It is announced that a new office building will be built on Main Street between the Capitol Hotel and the Bank of Montreal. The new building will reflect the architecture of the Klondike gold rush.|
|September 19, 1973||19 ambassadors to Canada arrive in Whitehorse September 13, 1973 on the Yukon leg of the familiarization tour.|
|September 26, 1973||City manager Bob Byron resigns September 24, 1973.|
|October 1, 1973||Jack Meloy, Pioneer, dies at Kirkman Creek while on a hunt. He was in his 80s.|
|October 1, 1973||A fire destroys the former George and Martha Black residence on First and Jarvis.|
|October 5, 1973||Rolf Hougen, Chairman of the Yukon Research and Development Institute, commissioned Dr. Carr to study the economic outlook for the Yukon. The 6 volume report was released in 1968. M.P.S. Associates updated the report. One recommendation was to extend the White Pass Rail to Carmacks.|
|October 5, 1973||The parka factory opens in the back of the Indian Craft Shop on Main Street.|
|October 19, 1973||Archivist Brian Spears announes that the archives of the Yukon & the MacBride Museum acquire Klondike Kate's collection of private papers from D.W. Van Duren Kate's stepson. The historic collection includes her personal letters, newspaper clippings, photographs and a typescript of her autobiography which was never published.|
|October 26, 1973||A 900 pound carving of a gold panner is moved into Murdoch's Gem Shop. Owners of the Gem Shop, Mike Scott and Bill Weigand, commissioned the sculpture three years earlier. A year was wasted when the first piece split and sculptor Maurice Harvey had to start over again.|
|November 5, 1973||Census stata releases that 13,9% of Yukoners were born outside of Canada.|
|November 14, 1973||The bill to permit construction of the trans-Alaskan oil pipeline is approved by the U.S. House of Senates.|
|November 21, 1973||Whitehorse mayor Bert Wybrew announces he will not run in the December civic election.|
|November 23, 1973||George Jeckell's son, Frank Jeckell, officially opens the new junior secondary school in Riverdale named after George Jeckell. Frank has not been in the Yukon for fifty-one years. He was born in Dawson.|
|November 26, 1973||The grocery department of Taylor and Drury is under new management as of December 3, 1973, ending 73 years of family direction.It has been sold to Don Palomar and Bob Evans.|
|November 30, 1973||WHTV starts to provide and install surveillance equipment in the Yukon.|
|December 3, 1973||Paul H. Lucier is the new Whitehorse mayor by acclamation. Chuck Hankins, Pete Patrick, Olive Pociwauschuk, John Watt, Al Wright, Wayne Palmer are elected as Aldermen for the Whitehorse City Council.|
|December 5, 1973||White Pass and Yukon Corp. Ltd. Albert P. Friesen resigns. He is succeeded by Richard A. Hubber-Richard. Directors include the Leach and Searle families|
|December 10, 1973||Longtime Yukoner Happy LePage passes away on November 28, 1973 at the age of 68.|
|December 12, 1973||Alan Innes-Taylor accepts a contract with White Pass & Yukon Route to pursue a number of historical and ecological projects.|
|December 19, 1973||A territorial government interdepartmental committee is commissioned to introduce metric conversion to the Yukon.|
|December 31, 1973||Territorial councillor Norman Chamberlist takes commissioner James Smith to court - again.|
- Frank Fingland is appointed Assistant Yukon Commissioner succeeding Ron Hodgkinson.
- Northern Affairs Minister Jean Chretien announces the building of the 33.6 miles of the Skagway Road meeting up with Alaska's building of 9.4 miles to complete the 110 miles from Whitehorse to Skagway.
- Yukon Member of Parliament, Erik Nielsen, is fined for not registering for Medicare.
- Yukon Territorial Councillor Norman Chamberlist charges a conspiracy. He claims "a syndicate" exists to control events in Whitehorse and the Yukon. His remarks named names and events during a two hour speech in the Territorial Council chambers, as reported in the Whitehorse Star on July 27th.
- Norm Chamberlist and Hilda Watson survive a non-confidence motion brought on by fellow Territorial Councillor Ken McKinnon.
- Armand Arsenault proposes an eleven story apartment building in Riverdale.
- Frank Mooney is chairman of the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. Board members include Brenda Evans, June Cable, Jim Phelan, Don McArthur, Ray Gosse, Carol Keddy and Dave Gairns.
- Oil companies drilling and conducting seismic work in northern Yukon include Amoco, Chevron Standard, Pacific Petroleum and Westcoast Petroleum. Whitehorse Star reporter Jim Beebe tours underground at Whitehorse Copper Mine.
- Whitehorse City Council includes Mayor Bert Wybrew and Aldermen, Jim Howatt, Alder Hunter, Paul Lucier, Clive Boyd, Steve Henke, and John Watt. Controversy continues on the introduction of medicare in the Yukon. Don Taylor, M.L.A., refused to register and was subsequently charged.
- The Yukon Consolidated Gold Corp. is taking a second look at its Klondike properties which have been closed since 1966 with a view to re-opening as a result of higher gold prices.
- Ray Jackson, Chief of the Aishihik Indian Band, writes to Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chretien to get assurance the NCPC dam at Otter Falls would not negatively impact Indian lands in the area.
- Gerald Bouey, Bank of Canada governor, leads the directors of the bank and of the Industrial Development Bank on a visit to Whitehorse.
- British High Commissioner Lord Hayward and Lady Hayward with Jean Chretien and Mrs. Chretien, attend the Commissioners Ball in Dawson City in celebration of the Yukon's seventy-fifth year as a separate territory. Previously the Yukon was part of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba which then made up the Northwest Territories.
- Indian Affairs minister Jean Chretien, in response to a question by Territorial Councillor Ken McKinnon said "no bridge for Dawson".
- The Campbell Highway from Carmacks to Faro is being widened 8 to 10 feet.
- Mayor Ivor Dent of Edmonton together with a delegation from the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce visit Whitehorse in August.
- Yukon Territorial Councillors Hilda Watson and Clive Tanner move to dump Norman Chamberlist from the Executive Council - September Chamberlist terms Watson "a female scorpion" and quits the Executive Committee and is replaced by Clive Tanner.
- The MacBride Museum is enlarged by a 72' x 28' extension.
- A replacement bridge to Riverdale is under discussion between the city of Whitehorse and the Yukon Territorial Government. Plans are to build a 28' or a 40' bridge.
- CMHC has approved home financing in Porter Creek.
- The Council for Yukon Indians new constitution is confirmed.
- Andy Morin, Manager of Yukon Electrical, is transferred to Edmonton. Gorden Wagner of Grande Prairie will take over.
- Hougen's sponsored a spring fashion show in aid of the Braeburn Christian Summer Camp. 450 attended at the F.H. Collins School.