Description of Historic Place
Located in the Bear Creek Compound, the Gas House, also known as Building 5, is one of a number of buildings loosely arranged around the compound’s central yard. The Gas House consists of a simple, two-storey, rectangular wood-frame structure with a one-storey lean-to sheathed in grey cove siding, white trim and corner boards, and a gable roof with roof ventilators. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Gas House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Gas House is associated with the corporate phase of Klondike gold mining in the early 20th century. Built by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Company (YCGC) to produce the oxygen and acetylene used for arc welding and machinery repairs on the dredges, the Gas House is also associated with the final operational phase of the Bear Creek Compound (1941-66) during which time only a few new buildings were erected.
The Gas House is a good example of a purpose-designed gas-generating building. Constructed of good quality, durable materials, the level of craftsmanship is consistent with a frontier situation and a mining community that was not intended to be permanent. The utilitarian design of the Gas House is simple, efficient, and well suited for the production of oxygen and acetylene, in that it consists of a wood frame shell with roof ventilators, concrete floor and foundation, and large doors to admit vehicles and machinery.
The Gas House reinforces the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area. The building is located among the compound’s cluster of industrial buildings, which are loosely arranged around the central yard, and set within the unique landscape of tailing piles produced during dredging operations that stretch for miles around Bear Creek, into the Klondike River Valley.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Bear Creek Industrial Complex (38 Buildings), Bear Creek, Yukon. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 89-008; Gas House No.5, Bear Creek Industrial Complex, Bear Creek, Yukon. Heritage Character Statement 89-008.
The character-defining elements of the Gas House should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the corporate mining phase of Klondike gold extraction in the early 20th century is reflected in:
- the building’s simple, functional design and materials that are consistent with its use and its frontier location.
Its utilitarian design and good quality materials as manifested in:
- the building’s simple, rectangular form and gable roofs;
- the gable roof’s boxed ventilators with pyramid roofs;
- the large double doors with horseshoe hinges;
- the efficient interior layout with areas for oxygen and acetylene production, storage of cylinders, and an office;
- the features purposely-designed to resist explosions including a concrete floor and foundation, and an interior lined with 26-gauge aluminum sheeting;
- the use of durable, utilitarian materials;
- original equipment including electrolysis tanks.
The building’s compatibility with the corporate industrial character of this obsolete placer gold mining area as evidenced in:
- its scale and materials;
- its location which is set back but part of the loose arrangement of buildings around the compound’s central yard.