Description of Historic Place
Ruby’s Place, also known as Building 13, is located in the Dawson Historic Complex National Historic Site of Canada. The two-storey, gable-roofed, rectangular structure features a painted, Boomtown façade with two prominent oriel windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Ruby’s Place is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Ruby’s Place is closely associated with the Klondike Gold Rush and the development of Dawson as a supply service and distribution centre for the mining community. The building is more specifically associated with prostitution and is a very good illustration of a significant phase of local development. Ruby’s Place was Dawson’s premier house of prostitution during the period 1935 to 1962. Of all the residents of 233 Second Avenue, only Ruby Scott, the ‘Madame’, had lasting significance. Ruby Scott became a pillar of the community, much loved by Dawson’s more ‘respectable men, women and children’. Her generosity was legendary, as was her reputation as a cook, hostess, and ‘a good old soul’.
Ruby’s Place demonstrates very good aesthetic design. Originally designed as a symmetrically fronted, dual dwelling, its Boomtown façade street elevation is notable for two dramatic oriel windows. The ground floor plan had traditionally served a dual purpose: the north half served as an office and the south half as an apartment. The second floor retains the essential elements of the 1902 centre-hall boarding house plan. Taken together, these elements comprise the building’s good functional design. The structure also shows very good craftsmanship and materials.
Ruby’s Place reinforces the Edwardian character of the neighborhood, the historic character of Dawson City, and is a familiar landmark to residents and visitors.
Sources: Ruby’s Place, 233 Second Avenue, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report Notes 88-012; Ruby’s Place, 233 Second Avenue, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Heritage Character Statement 88-012.
The character-defining elements of Ruby’s Place should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design and good dual-purpose functional design, for example:
- the two-storey form and massing of the gable-roofed, symmetrical, false-fronted structure;
- the horizontal, painted, coved siding of the street façade with its distinctive, large oriel windows;
- the arrangement of the entrance door flanked by large windows;
- the functional interior configuration of two interconnected areas.
The manner in which Ruby’s Place reinforces the Edwardian character of its streetscape setting and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its form, materials and details, particularly on the street frontage, which contribute to the Gold Rush character of Dawson City;
- its former function as Dawson’s premier house of prostitution making it known to residents of Dawson City and to visitors.