doris gates talks about the bonanza hotel

More information on the Bonanza Hotel, which originally was the Melbourne Hotel in the gold rush days.

More information on the Bonanza Hotel, which originally was the Melbourne Hotel in the gold rush days.

My good friend Doris Gates, who now lives in Clinton, BC, but was formerly from Dawson City, Clinton Creek, Faro and Whitehorse has some interesting historical and colourful tidbits to tell.

Thank you for this, Doris.

Her letter follows:

Dear Jim:

Re your article of October 13, 2010:

Just a bit of information about the Bonanza Hotel in Dawson City.

In mid January 1967, I took the golden opportunity to lease this hotel from Sid Carr, which I operated for two months and five glorious days until March 20,1967, and in that time period I operated the whole hotel other than the top floor as the fire marshal would not permit us to have people on the top floor.

Some of the history of this old building was how the Bonanza Hotel bar was originally brought into Dawson City from Chicago, Illinois, to San Francisco by rail then by water to Skagway, Alaska. From there it was taken over the Chilkoot Pass on to Dawson City.

Another bit of history in the hotel was a strongbox from Wells Fargo, and all the time I had the hotel I used this as my safe.

This strongbox came from an oldtimer by the name of Bert Barber. Bert was a gold rush bartender and piano player originally from California where he played piano and tended bar in Dawson City in the old days. His favourite drink was Gordon’s gin and water and he smoked constantly using a cigarette holder.

His goal in life was that his weight and age would be the same, and he achieved this goal on his 89th birthday when he weighed 89 pounds.

I hope your readers get a chuckle out of my historical news.

Doris Gates (Diamond Tooth Gertie)

Clinton, BC

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 e-mail through the News website,

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