This morning we started out with coffee and sweets at a local coffee shop called Bonton. The sweets we tried were a cinnamon Bundt cake, a sausage roll and a very chocolate cookie. Our drinks were a hot chocolate for Kent and a Chai latte for me.
Our next stop was at the Parks Canada storefront devoted to the history of Dawson City. They have some very nice historical photos showing how the goldrush changed the city. In the early days, settlers and businesses pitched tents along the riverfront for housing and the selling of goods of all sorts. As more people came to town and prospered, the town grew quickly. Tent homes and businesses alike were rebuilt with wood, some with the finest materials available like wallpaper, Persian carpets and hardwood floors.
The goldrush only lasted a few years before the majority of folks disappointed with the harsh conditions and lack of fast wealth, packed up and headed home. This left the town of Dawson better than it was before the goldrush but having to deal with new issues like abandoned properties, vacant storefronts and a lack of customers. Many of these early buildings are still standing today although a bit worse for wear. Not much was known about building on the permafrost in the soil and so many of the early buildings have settled unevenly into the ground as the heat from the buildings melts the ice in the soil.
After a short rest at our hotel we headed out on a hike to find the community cemetery founded in 1898 after the much smaller cemetery in town was full and more space was needed. The hike took us about thirty minutes from our hotel, mostly uphill, on a dirt road to reach the cemetery. The new cemetery was built on the hillside above town and is still used today. Over the years the cemetery was expanded as the need grew. For such a small town I found it interesting that the cemetery would be divided into multiple cemeteries based on religious affiliation. The cemetery has defined lawns for the Jewish, the St. Mary’s Catholic, the Police, The Masonic and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
For the most part there are very few headstones in the cemeteries and instead most graves are marked with basic wooden crosses or markers. The Parks Canada office has an entire brochure dedicated to the cemeteries in town including a write up on some of the interesting people who have been buried in the cemetery over the years. Some were made famous for their luck in the goldrush while others were known for their contributions to the community.
By the time we returned to our hotel Kent was exhausted and his legs were hurting. Oh, the joys of getting older!!
In the late afternoon after a needed rest, we headed out into town looking for someplace new to have dinner. Many places were either closed for the day or were not open between lunch and dinner service. We stopped at a restaurant and bar where the sign said “serving a limited menu.” When asked what the limited menu was, we were told that we could either have a roast beef sandwich or a tuna sandwich. In the end we ended up back at the JJJ Hotel where we had eaten a couple of times before.
After dinner, staying in our room and watching TV was very appealing.