Description of Historic Place
The two-storey Post Office, also known as the Former Post Office, is a substantial wooden building, which stands out at the corner of King Street and Third Avenue in the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada. It is a prominent local landmark, distinguished by its three-storey octagonal corner entrance tower. Its regularly spaced windows and pedimented doorway, as well as the detailing of its decorative wood trim, reflect a classical source for its design. The walls are clad in horizontal wood siding. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Post Office is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and architectural and environmental values.
The Post Office is closely associated with the commitment, establishment, and exercise of sovereignty by the federal government in the northwest, and the provision of postal and other essential federal services in frontier communities.
The Post Office is an important example of the work of Thomas W. Fuller prior to his becoming Chief Architect of the Department of Public Works. The building is an excellent example of a pre-First World War post office executed in wood, and it is unique in Canada in that, although built in wood, it is clearly a federal building and carries many of the features of the more substantial masonry federal buildings in southern communities. It is an example of the adaptation of design to local construction conditions, materials and skills available in an area where masonry construction was impractical but the design requirements were similar.
As one of the most substantial, distinctive, and well-designed buildings in Dawson, the Post Office has always had a strong visual impact in the community. It is a key element in establishing the turn-of-the-century character of the King Street and Third Avenue area and is an important regional landmark.
Sources: Joan Mattie, Former Post Office, Dawson City Historical Complex, Dawson City, Yukon, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 87-067; Former Post Office, Dawson City Historical Complex, Dawson City, Yukon, Heritage Character Statement, 87-067.
The character-defining elements of the Post Office should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic design, good functional design and very good materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the entirety of its exterior and interior composition, design and fabric, and its surviving original services, furnishings and fittings;
- its all wood construction;
- its Classical design, in keeping with other Dawson City federal buildings;
- the building's exterior, which is modest but carefully detailed;
- the octagonal tower, which gives the building a sense of stability, defines the entry and provides an important focal point in the town;
- the exceptional interior materials and workmanship, with almost all finishes, trim and furnishings executed in varnished fir;
- its uniqueness as an extremely rare example of a purpose-built federal building from the period that still displays every detail and feature of its original purpose and design;
- the interior plan, which retains the original separation of Post Office, Customs and Crown Lands functions, finishes, services and principal furnishings.
The manner in which the Post Office reinforces the present character of the setting of the historic district and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing historic relationship with the lot lines, the boardwalk, the adjacent structures and the streetscape;
- its materials, detailing, and the treatment of the façades, which visually unify the bank with the adjacent structures;
- its familiarity to the residents of Dawson and to visitors of the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada.