Heritage planning for Lansing Post underway

A big-game hunter named James Bond visited the once-bustling site of Lansing Post in September 1947 and commented on the poor state of its structures.

A big-game hunter named James Bond visited the once-bustling site of Lansing Post in September 1947 and commented on the poor state of its structures.

“The buildings had fallen apart and most of them had rotted into piles of debris,” he said, according to a historical document Jody Cox put together for the Yukon’s Department of Tourism in 1999.

“Where people once walked and carried on a happy community life, grass grew four feet tall. The finest vegetation I have seen anywhere in the Yukon grows at Lansing.”

Bond visited the area at the confluence of the Stewart and Lansing rivers about 40 years after it had established itself as one of the territory’s most important trading posts.

At its peak there were over a dozen buildings at the site, which is within the traditional territory of the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun. Today, only three remain and Lansing Post is still only accessible by water or air.

The First Nation is working with the Yukon government to develop a management plan for the area, located 120 kilometres east of Mayo, and designate the site a heritage resource.

Heritage Manager Joella Hogan said it’s something the First Nation has been working towards for the past 20 years.

“It’s one of those things that got set aside until we were ready,” she said.

“We have a lot of relations that come from Fort Good Hope and Fort MacPherson. Lansing Post was key in all that travel.

“But we’re also focusing on so much more, like the trails around the area, the travel routes and genealogy.”

The First Nation just put out a request for proposal to hire a contractor to facilitate the management planning process, Hogan said.

A public consultation, scheduled to take place at the beginning of June, will determine what the community wants out of the plan, she added.

According to Cox’s research, two men – Percival Nash and Frank Baine – established the trading post in the early 1900s.

Trapping conditions in the upper Stewart River area were very good in the early 1900s, Cox writes, but the extent to which non-native trappers operated in the area is less clear.

Although Nash and Baine never purchased land for the post, nor do government records show they obtained a trading permit for the business, they operated there until at least 1908.

That year they sold it to Jim and Helen Ferrell. The couple only stayed for a few years, however.

An RCMP constable who visited the site in 1911 reported that a trader on the Pelly River had been spreading stories about all white men on the Stewart River being thieves, thus discouraging native people from trading with the Ferrells.

The trading post was turned over to Jim Mervyn, who had a good relationship with the Mackenzie River people – in part because his wife, Julia, was originally from the area.

He used trading tokens rather than currency – worth $1, $10 and $20 – made of aluminum and brass.

Cox concluded that a number of factors led to Mervyn closing the post at Lansing. In 1918 the First Nation community was decimated by sickness, leaving only a few survivors.

Then, in 1938, a massive flood destroyed the banks on which the post stood.

Mervyn began expanding his business to Mayo, buying the Binet Bros. firm, which included the general store.

“The transition from being a centre for trade and social activities in the early 1900s to a ghost-town by the 1940s occurred over many years,” Cox writes.

“As one First Nations woman commented, people began ‘to drift away’ and moved to Mayo or to their camps.”

Hogan said the management plan could feature some restoration of the remaining buildings.

“It depends on what the community wants, and how it wants to use that site,” she said.

Hogan said updates will be posted to yukonheritage.com.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

A Yukon government sign is posted to one of the trees that have been brought down for the sewer project in Riverdale explaining the project. The area is set to be revegetated with grass when it is complete. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Planned stormsewer outfall will improve drainage on Selkirk Street

Resident raises concern over clearing as council considers agreement.

Most Read