“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dawson City, Yukon Territory — The Canadian Territories

The Midnight Dome

The Midnight Dome Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 3, 2010
1. The Midnight Dome Marker
Inscription. “What fools we mortals be.”
About 150 people, “many of whom were ladies”, attended the first formal gathering to see the midnight sun on June 21, 1899. Weary mountaineers were greeted with a selection of nuts, candies and soft drinks at suitably elevated prices. Both the British and American flags were raised and the Ceremony began with a bugle call. The highlight of the evening was a speech by playwright and poet Captain Jack Crawford. Disappointing the crowd, the sun set one-half hour before midnight and rose two hours later. No one, from this time on, expected to see the midnight sun on the solstice but the Dome remains a popular spot for sightseeing and celebrating the long summer nights.

“There shall be no light here.”
As the Dawson population declined, Dawson ministers began holding midnight church services on the Dome. In 1905, Rev. W.H. Barraclough preached from Revelation 22-5. Miss Harold of the Christian Science Society, Professor Trumpour, a visiting Anglican professor from Vancouver, Archdeacon Shirley of the local Anglican Church, and Rev. Findlay of the United Church of Canada held a Union Service on the Dome in 1925. The ministers may have outnumbered the audience as the preached for half an hour around a small campfire.

Big Changes Over Time
The Midnight Dome

The confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 5, 2010
2. The confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers.
is a knob of metamorphic rock, common to the area south of the Tintina Trench fault line. The geology of the two edges on the Trench differs greatly due to a slippage of 450 km. that occurred within the last 65 million years. Generally speaking, gold laden placer gravels occur south of the Trench and hardrock deposits of lead, zinc and coal are found on the north side.

The Tintina Trench, in the Dawson City area, marks the edge of the glaciers as they existed 3 million years ago. This glaciation may have changed the direction of the Yukon River from south flowing to north. The river cut a path through the bedrock instead of making a path in the lower, but ice-filled, Tintina Trench. Later glaciations may have changed the direction of the Yukon River again but today the river flows north.

In September 1925 a road was built from the graveyards to the Dome, to accommodate the steamboat passengers who arrived on a one-day sightseeing tour. White Pass & Yukon Route donated $500 for the project. The labour was done by members of the Yukon Order of Pioneers who borrowed a Caterpillar tractor and a plough from the City.

Fertile Islands in the Stream
Islands in the Yukon River near Dawson have been used to grow produce and animal fodder since the gold rush. The islands grow and shrink each year, depending on the whim of the river, but the soil is good and their location

Dawson City from Midnight Dome. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 5, 2010
3. Dawson City from Midnight Dome.
protects them from early frosts. Sister Island, 3 km down river from Dawson, was donated to the Sister’s of St. Ann around 1900. It provided grazing for the hospital cattle and was a favorite spot for picnics.

[Photo captions, clockwise from the left:] Captain Jack Crawford (From “The Poet Scout”) On the Dawson Dome, June 22, 1901 (YA VPL Collection, #2038.)

Robert McCleery, of the Royal North West Mounted Police, signing a quest register at the base of the flagstaff in September 1919. (YA Tidd Collection, #7606.)

The work crew included Mary Tidd, who rode the tractor to the top (YA Tidd Collection, #7096.) [map of the area]

A midnight picnic on the Dome with Cecil Swanson, Amos Njootlie, John Davies, Reverend Ross and unknown. Mr. Bush and Earl Lee are kneeling in front. (YA Cecil Swanson Collection, #8577.)
Erected by Yukon Tourism, Heritage Branch.
Location. 64° 4.078′ N, 139° 23.788′ W. Marker is near Dawson City, Yukon Territory. Marker is on Midnight Dome Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dawson City, Yukon Territory Y0B 1G0, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Northern Commercial Co. Warehouse (approx. 1.6 kilometers away); Yukon Saw Mill Office Historic Site

Bonanza Creek from Midnight Dome. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 5, 2010
4. Bonanza Creek from Midnight Dome.
(approx. 1.7 kilometers away); Rev. William Henry Judge, S.J. (approx. 1.7 kilometers away); Madame Tremblay’s Store/Le magasin de Madame Tremblay (approx. 1.7 kilometers away); Post Office/Le bureau de poste (approx. 1.8 kilometers away); Palace Grand Theatre/Le théâtre Grand Palace (approx. 1.8 kilometers away); Arctic Brotherhood Hall (approx. 1.8 kilometers away); The B.Y.N. Co. Ticket Office/La billettetereie de la compagnie B.Y.N. (approx. 1.8 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dawson City.
More about this marker. The elevation of Midnight Dome is 2911 feet.
Additional keywords. Klondike Gold Rush
Categories. Natural Features
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 19, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 577 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 19, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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