SS Klondike

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The SS Klondike was the name of two sternwheelers, the second now a national historic site located in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Both ran freight between Whitehorse and Dawson City along the Yukon River from 1921-1936 and 1936-1950, respectively.

The Klondike I was built in 1921 and had the distinction of having 50% more capacity than a regular sternwheeler, while still having the shallow draft and meeting the size requirements in order to travel down the Yukon River. Klondike I had a cargo capacity of 270 metric tonnes without having to push a barge.

Klondike I ran aground in 1936. The British-Yukon Navigation Company (a subsidiary of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway company) salvaged much of the ship and cannibalized the wreckage to build the Klondike II the following year.

Klondike II carried freight until 1950. Due to the construction of a highway connecting Dawson City and Whitehorse, many sternwheelers were decommissioned. In an attempt to save Klondike II, it was converted into a cruise ship. The venture shut down in 1955 due to lack of interest, and the Klondike II was beached in the Whitehorse shipyards.

The ship was donated to Parks Canada and was gradually restored until 1966, when city authorities agreed to move the ship to its present location, then part of a squatter's residence. The task required three bulldozers, eight tons of Palmolive soap, a crew of twelve men, and three weeks to complete. Greased log rollers eased the process.

On 1 July 1981, the Canadian government declared Klondike II a national historic site, and it is now open during the summers as a tourist attraction.


  • Green, Dianne (1996). Exploring Old Whitehorse. Whitehorse, Yukon: Northbush Publishing Ltd.. ISBN 978-0921114017. 
  • Dobrowelsky, Helene; Ingram, Rob (1994). Edge of the River, Heart of the City. Whitehorse, Yukon: Lost Moose Publishing. ISBN 978-0969461227. 

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Coordinates: 60°42′48″N 135°02′52″W / 60.7134°N 135.0478°W / 60.7134; -135.0478