The Taylor & Drury store occupied a significant site within Whitehorse's commercial district. Located near the waterfront, the W.P. & Y.R. Depot, the Burns Building, and other commercial businesses, the company prospered and expanded throughout the Yukon. The effect of the company was felt throughout Whitehorse, where many of its employees had been located.
Two-storey Frame Building
There are two two-storey frame structures which were joined together in 1944-45. The building has a concrete foundation. The building's exterior and interior have undergone many alterations. The Northern Commercial Co. part of the structure was destroyed by fire in 1941, but was reconstructed.
"Until 1974, the stores at the corner of Main Street and First Avenue were the last of 18 stores operated at different times throughout the Yukon by Isaac Taylor and William Drury. Both from England and Klondike-bound in 1898, Taylor and Drury joined forces in 1900. They bypassed Dawson City for the new gold strike in Atlin, B.C. With $200 and a 12' by 14' tent, they turned a profit buying outfits from disillusioned gold seekers and selling them back to new arrivals. Over a period of 75 years, the initial profit from this little trading post grew into a business with annual gross sales of $3-million and 85 employees--Yukon's oldest merchandising firm.
The interior of the building has undergone many alterations since it was first built. In 1950, the portion which was the Northern Commercial Company was acquired by T&D, and the two buildings were joined to form one store. The building underwent extensive alterations in 1981 when Horwoods Mall opened.
When the railroad was completed to Bennett, Taylor and Drury moved their shop from Atlin to Bennett. They were both familiar with the clothing trade and Drury was a shoemaker with a sturdy sewing machine. He kept himself busy making sails for boats and scows travelling to Dawson. When the railway was completed in 1900, Taylor and Drury moved to Whitehorse on the first train. Almost overnight, Whitehorse had become a rail and river transport centre. Taylor and Drury set up their tent on the river bank, at what is now First Avenue and Elliott Street, and in less than a year, had expanded their business to include the Bon Marche Men's Wear Store on First Avenue at Steele Street. In 1912, the firms of Taylor and Drury and their chief competition, Whitney and Pedlar, amalgamated under the name of Taylor, Drury, and Pedlar. The union lasted 5 years. At that time they moved into their store at First Street and Main Street and added a grocery department. The building was first constructed by Whitney and Pedlar after this part of town was levelled by fire in 1905." Excerpt from YHMA Photo Display, 1979.