As a result of the Klondike Gold Rush, the Yukon Telegraph Line was established to link the rest of Canada with the Yukon. The Line was an overland telegraph operated by the Dominion Government of Canada from 1901 and 1936. Telegraph service previously existed up to Hazelton with the Collin’s Overland Telegraph (1866), which was built by the Western Union Telegraph in hopes of linking Europe and Canada via the Bering Strait and Russia. However, with the Transatlantic Telegraph Line was completed first, construction on the Collin’s Overland Telegraph was halted just north of Hazelton.
In 1899 or 1900, the Dominion Government of Canada began construction north of Hazelton (which at the time was undeveloped and remote), using a combination of old Collin’s Overland Telegraph surveys, First Nations trails and the Ashcroft Trail. In 1901 the telegraph began operation, employing one lineman and one operator at each station cabin along the route. There were nine main cabins along the route numbered 1 to 9. Beyond the Ninth Cabin, the stations were named based on nearby geographical features, such as Echo Lake or Iskut River. In between each “home stations” were refuge cabins, referred to by distance from the main cabins in the reports by linemen.
Most of the records held by the Archives pertain to the Eighth Cabin, of which Charles Philip Janze maintained the northern lines and John Jensen serviced the southern portions of telegraph line. William Blackstock most likely maintained the Ninth Cabin and its surrounding lines. Unfortunately, in 1936, substantial flooding severely damaged sections of the telegraph line and supporting infrastructure, and with the emergence of new wireless radio technology, the Dominion Government could not justify spending the money for repairs and the Yukon Telegraph Line was permanently shut down.
Scope and Content
Series includes inventories, requisitions and work reports written by Charles P Janze, John Jensen and William Blackstock.