The Telegraph Office

Building Location: 

MacBride Museum Grounds

Whitehorse, YT Y1A1A4

Location Context: 

Upon completion of the White Pass and Yukon Railway on the west bank of the Yukon River, the townsite of Whitehorse was moved. The first area to be developed was naturally the waterfront, where fundamental services such as transportation and communication were first established. Refer to Sam McGee’s Cabin.


1-1/2 Storey Log Building

Architectural History: 

This log building has a steep gable roof and a small covered entry. The roof is covered by corrugated sheet metal and it sits on a wood sill foundation.

There have been two small additions to rear of building.

Cultural History: 

This building, constructed on its present site in 1900, was the second telegraph office in Whitehorse (the first office was situated across the river; see below). It has been under the care of the MacBride Museum since it opened in 1967. The building served both as the telegraph office, and as the residence for its operators. The head operator, George Fleming, lived there until his retirement in 1923, and was succeeded by Bruce Watson until 1927. After that, use of the station ceased and two houses next door, since demolished, were used instead.

In the late 1920’s and early 30’s, the building was used as the Boy Scouts’ headquarters. The YHMA leased the building as a museum between 1952 and 1966.

The first telegraph office was built in 1899. It was located on the east bank of the Yukon River, where the original townsite of Whitehorse, then called Closeleigh, was situated. When the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was completed on the West bank of the river, the telegraph office was stripped of doors, windows, and anything removable for use in the new office. In 1901 the NWMP discovered a few cases of smallpox; the office was converted into a quarantine area. Later called the “Pest house”, the building was converted to an ideally secluded hospital for patients with infectious and contagious diseases.

Current Use: Museum exhibit
Past Use: Telegraph office and residence
Condition: Good
Foundation/Floor: Good
Walls: Good
Windows/Doors: Good
Roof: Good