Description of Historic Place
The White Pass and Yukon Railway Station at Carcross is a two-storey, wood railway station with a station agent’s residence on the second floor. It was built in 1910, with one-storey extensions added to the south end in 1926 and the east side in 1928. The station is located on the main road of the small community of Carcross. It sits on the sandy shore of the narrows joining Lake Bennett and Nares Lake, at the foot of Caribou Mountain. The formal recognition is confined to the railway station building itself.
The White Pass and Yukon Railway (WP&YR) Station at Carcross reflects the symbiotic relationship between rail and water transportation in the Yukon, and the WP&YR’s role in creating a transportation infrastructure. The railway supported Carcross’s role as a transshipment point and facilitated the local mining and tourism industries. At Carcross station, rail passengers from Skagway boarded a sternwheeler cruise across the lakes. The town site was created by the railway when it built the station and the adjacent steamboat landing.
The Carcross station is typical of Yukon and northern British Columbia architecture in its simplicity and utilitarian appearance. Its sparing use of imported lumber reflects the high cost of importing such materials. The relatively large interior spaces devoted to passenger and freight service, including the 1926 waiting room addition to the south and the 1928 addition of washroom space on the east side, reflect Carcross’ major role as a center for tourism and transshipment, despite the community’s small size.
The Carcross station continues to serve as a physical and economic focal point of the community. It retains its relationships with adjacent railway-related structures, including: the railway swing bridge, the sternwheeler docks, a warehouse, and the hotel and general store. The station is surrounded by spectacular views of the lakes and mountains.
Sources: Heritage Character Statement, White Pass and Yukon Railway Station, Carcross, Yukon, April 1992; Helene Dobrowolsky and Rob Ingram, Midnight Arts, Railway Station Report 077, White Pass and Yukon Railway Station, Carcross, Yukon.
Character-defining elements of the White Pass and Yukon Railway Station at Carcross include:
-its simple massing, consisting of a central, two-storey, gable-roofed block, flanked by one-storey, gable-roofed wings extending from the north and south ends of the building and from the east side
-the projecting operator’s bay on the track (west) side
-the elongated south wing, reflecting a 1926 addition to provide more passenger and freight handling space for sternwheeler passengers
-the east wing, reflecting a 1928 addition to provide space for a ladies washroom
-its simple exterior treatment, including: horizontal, wood, cove siding on the walls; simple, wood trim around the doors and windows and at the skirting, corners and frieze; and plain, wood soffits and fascia
-brick chimneys with corbelled cap detailing on the two-storey block
-its tall, narrow window and door openings, with doors topped by transoms, giving a vertical emphasis to the building
-window units dating to the 1920s or earlier, including: one-over-one and two-over-two double-hung windows; and transom windows over the doors
-its wood construction, cladding and detailing
-surviving interior finishes dating to the 1920s or earlier, including: tongue-and-groove, fir planking on the ceiling, wall and floor surfaces of the ground floor.