In the golden days of the 1950s, sports was king in Whitehorse. As with many towns, the hockey, basketball and softball leagues had some real superstar players supported by many journeymen. Such was George Krautschneider. George was a softball pitcher in the days before the wind-up windmill pitch made hitting a softball difficult to almost impossible. The softball offerings from the pitchers’ mound by George Krautschneider were positively hittable. So much so, that the other eight players on his team always got a good workout chasing down hard hit softballs.
It was exciting and the games had lots of action. Old time fans and players will remember his distinctive style. George was tall and lanky. So he was forever hitching up his trousers which never seemed to fit. A hitch with both elbows, a stern look at the catcher and a smooth underhand delivery were the Krautschneider trademarks. Batters did not fear being hit by a pitch so they’d dig in and swing from the heels. With George on the mound, the games were fun-filled entertainment.
George lived on Second Avenue in what today is known as the historic Krautschneider house. According to the historic buildings section of the Yukon museums website, the house was built around 1913 on land owned by the British Yukon Navigation company, a division of White Pass. In 1914, a man named Cooper, who built small boats and sold them on the waterfront, lived in the house.
Then, Mrs. Sharp, a seamstress, lived there in 1918. In 1923 White Pass sold the house to Shorty Chambers, who paid by installments - in cord wood. Robert Jones, a trapper and prospector, then lived in the house until he sold it to Edith Krautschneider in 1947. The Krautschneiders had come to Whitehorse during the construction of the Alaska Highway. Mr. Krautschneider, George’s dad, worked for the American army on the Alaska Highway. He was drowned in a tragic accident on Teslin Lake in 1946.
In later years, the house fell on hard times, including being involved in an accident when a car rammed into it. George Krautschneider was the last occupant of the house which was finally moved off its original location, at the corner of Second and Strickland, to a Yukon Government compound in 1999 after the City of Whitehorse declined to preserve the old house even though the Frostbite Music Society had asked that the building be fixed up for use as offices.
The Krautschneider house was eventually moved to the City of Whitehorse compound lot where it remains today.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin