Many years ago, I made the above sketch of the original Skookum Jim House. It was torn down years ago as a make-work project in Carcross – to the disappointment of people like the late Johnny Johns who, I believe, would have liked it to be restored and not torn down.
A similar rebuilt replica house was built in its place. The front page of the May 19 Whitehorse Star featured a photo of “The moving of the historic Skookum Jim House,” according to the caption.
In the Star the following day somebody put in a correction indicating the building was just a “replica of the Skookum Jim House.”
Skookum Jim was with Dawson Charlie and George Carmack when they discovered gold on Rabbit Creek after being advised to try their luck. The creek was renamed Bonanza Creek. This discovery on August 16, 1896, started the Great Klondike Gold Rush.
Skookum Jim was known for his strength. At one time he carried 156 pounds of bacon over the precarious Chilkoot Pass. After the gold rush, Skookum Jim spent most of the rest of his life prospecting. He died in 1916.
When I sketched and photographed the Skookum Jim House in Carcross, it was just a shell of a building, but in the early days, according to the late Johnny Johns who used to talk to me about history and the early days of the house, it was an elegant place with fancy wallpaper, brass beds, fancy carved chairs, lots of other valuable furniture and a large music box.
Somebody said that the lumber for this house was packed in from Dyea, Alaska, around 1900 or earlier.
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, www.yukon-news.com.