Front Street in Dawson City, ca. 1920.
Yukon Archives: #8360
At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century, Dawson City was a boom town, the biggest Canadian city west of Winnipeg. However, the rush was short-lived, and by 1925 Dawson City was a much less vibrant community than it had been. Its population had plummeted. The gold rush in Nome, Alaska, lured many prospectors away. The First World War proved a fatal siren call to others. In 1918 the steamship Princess Sophia
went down in the Lynn Canal south of Skagway, taking the lives all 343 people aboard her. Many were prominent business people from Dawson who had been heading south for the winter.
A funeral in Dawson, 1916.
Yukon Archives: #7054
By 1925 the stampeders
who remained in Dawson were no longer the brawny young hopefuls who had sought their fortunes in the Klondike gold fields back in 1898. "Indeed, as the years wore on, it was funerals around which the town revolved,"
wrote Laura Berton in her memoir, I Married the Klondike
. During her years there, Dawson appeared to become "a great graveyard on the banks of the Klondike."