bob cameron identifies location of back alley photograph

Bob Cameron has identified this Whitehorse photograph. I could not remember the downtown back-alley scene. I should have, because I was here.

Bob Cameron has identified this Whitehorse photograph. I could not remember the downtown back-alley scene. I should have, because I was here. Also, I love back-alley scenes. In the early 1960s and part of the 1970s I did a series of paintings called the Back Alleys of Whitehorse.

Thank you very much, Bob, for writing in.

His letter follows:

Hi, Jim,

Your Colourful Five Per Cent photo of August 3, brings back a lot of memories.

The location is the back alley between Main and Elliot Streets, and Second and Third Avenue, viewed looking north.

That was the view, slightly angled across the alley from our backyard at 208 Elliott Street, all through my growing-up years in the 1950s and early 1960s.

My earliest memory of the two-storey log building goes back to when it was occupied by the Yukon Telephone Co., operated by Mr. Barker. He and his two adult sons operated the company equipment out of the garage portion – I don’t recall whether or not they lived upstairs. The vacant lot from which the photo was taken was usually occupied by the company’s service and pole trucks. When the trucks were away we used the space to play road hockey, bike tag and duck-on-the-rock.

Behind the log building and fronting on Main Street (right where Photovision is today), there was a two-storey house that was covered with red-asphalt (fake brick) shingles. I think it served as the telephone company’s front office. I remember one day, around 1954, a man committed suicide in there. Us kids saw the police carry him out through the door-gate in the center of the photo.

Sometime in the mid to late 1950s the Yukon Telephone Co. was bought out by the CNT, and the Tuton family moved into the upstairs residence above the garage. Craig and Ian will have lots of memories of that.

In later years, the telephone business was taken over by Northwestel, which now has a building on our old home place – 208 Elliott. The slanted roof that disappears off the left edge of the photo was the home of Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Phelps (Mrs. Phelps Senior, to us kids), and it fronted onto Main Street at what is now Murdoch’s Gem Shop.

Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or email through the News