MP-0000.2360.91 | In line for a 3 hour wait, Dawson, YT, 1899

In line for a 3 hour wait, Dawson, YT, 1899
1899, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
20 x 24 cm
Gift of the Wright Family
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cityscape (3948) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

What are these men lining up for? (They seem all to be men and all are wearing hats). There were only two reasons to queue like that in Dawson City: to register gold claims or collect mail. Because of the demand for services, both the post office and the gold registry were badly overburdened (there were charges of corruption in the registry office), and long waits were common. The wait at the post office infuriated lonely men desperate for mail from home. Note the telephone pole. Though remote, Dawson City soon had a local telephone system and electricity, and by 1901 was linked by telegraph south through British Columbia to the rest of the world.

Source : Off to the Klondike! The Search for Gold [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    These men have to wait in line for three hours, probably for their mail.

  • Where

    This is Dawson City, Yukon.

  • When

    The time is the summer of 1899. A new post office was opened two years later, making the service more efficient.

  • Who

    Probably most of these men eagerly awaiting letters from home are miners.