Description of Historic Place
The Northern Commercial Company Warehouse, also known as Building 17, is one of a small group of buildings located on the north end of King Street, in the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada. This long, timber-frame building, clad with weathered board and batten, is topped by a metal, gable roof. The building has a double-door entrance flanked by small windows at door-head height on the gable end. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Northern Commercial Company Warehouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Northern Commercial Company Warehouse is one of a very small group of buildings directly associated with the Klondike Gold Rush. More specifically, it demonstrates how the short shipping season in the North was handled through the creation of large storage facilities. The building was built by the largest trading corporation on the Yukon River at the height of the rush, which followed the discovery of gold in 1896. The construction of the warehouse is also directly associated with the first development of the area north of King Street. This area became a warehouse district, later superseded by residential and institutional development.
The Northern Commercial Company Warehouse is valued for its good aesthetic design. It belongs to a class of buildings that were constructed by large, established outside concerns with few economic constraints. As a result, the building is uniform in construction and is built from the highest quality materials. Also, the functionality of the warehouse is very good, with a central tramway for distributing goods and a large unobstructed interior space. The windows are arranged along the walls to allow for maximum storage of goods.
The Northern Commercial Company Warehouse is compatible with the character of its residential and institutional setting and is a familiar building to residents and visitors of Dawson.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Twenty-two Dawson structures, Dawson, Yukon, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report, 88-012; N.C. Co. Warehouse, Dawson, Yukon, Heritage Character Statement, 88-012.
The character-defining elements of the Northern Commercial Company Warehouse should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design, materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the symmetrical massing topped by a gable roof with a standing seam, galvanized steel finish;
- the pattern of openings, including a double door flanked by small windows on the end elevations, and the numerous small windows, placed at regular intervals on the long walls and immediately under the top plate, which provide the maximum stacking height for goods;
- the elevations clad with weathered board and batten;
- the exposed, light timber platform framing of the walls and the regularly spaced Howe trusses with bracing, which span the roof and provide a column-free and unobstructed interior space;
- the interior central tramway feature to facilitate the storage and retrieval of goods in the warehouse.
The manner in which the Northern Commercial Company Warehouse is compatible with the character of its residential and institutional setting and is a familiar building in Dawson, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, massing and materials, which harmonize with adjacent structures within the residential and institutional development at the north end of King Street;
- its known historic relationship with the adjoining thoroughfares of King Street and Fifth Avenue;
- its historic association with the gold-rush era which makes it familiar to residents and visitors of Dawson.