SS Klondike (II)

Vessel Type
Steamship » Paddle steamer » Sternwheeler
Ship Date
Date built: 1937
Vessel Description

SS Klondike was the name of two sternwheelers, the second now a national historic site located in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Both ran freight between Whitehorse and Dawson City along the Yukon River from 1921-1936 and 1937-1950, respectively.

Klondike I was built in 1921 and had the distinction of having 50% more capacity than a regular sternwheeler, while still having the shallow draft and meeting the size requirements in order to travel down the Yukon River. Klondike I had a cargo capacity of 270 metric tonnes without having to push a barge.

Klondike I ran aground in June 1936 in 'The Thirty Mile' section of the Yukon River (at 61.6713°N 134.8728°W). The British-Yukon Navigation Company (a subsidiary of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway company) salvaged much of the ship and cannibalized the wreckage to build Klondike II the following year.

Klondike II carried freight until 1950. Due to the construction of a highway connecting Dawson City and Whitehorse, many sternwheelers were decommissioned. In an attempt to save Klondike II, she was converted into a cruise ship. The venture shut down in 1955 due to lack of interest, and Klondike II was beached in the Whitehorse shipyards.

The ship was donated to Parks Canada and was gradually restored until 1966, when city authorities agreed to move the ship to its present location, then part of a squatter's residence. The task required three bulldozers, eight tons of Palmolive soap, a crew of twelve men, and three weeks to complete. Greased log rollers eased the process.

On 24 June 1967, Klondike II was designated a National Historic Site of Canada, and she is now open during the summer as a tourist attraction.

Source: Wikipedia: SS Klondike

Related Collections
Collection: Alexander Spanos collection