Description of Historic Place
Lowe’s Mortuary is located within the historic downtown core of Dawson City, across the street from Winaut’s Store. The building is a long, low, single-storied structure, of log and wood frame construction, whose plain false-front façade features painted lettering reading “Lowe’s Mortuary”. The building is topped by a combination of gable and shed roofs and its walls are clad in a variety of materials, including log, coved siding and corrugated metal. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Lowe’s Mortuary is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Lowe’s Mortuary is directly associated with the earliest days of the Klondike Gold Rush.
It is also one of the best examples of a building that illustrates Dawson City’s transition from a gold mining camp to a commercial centre. The building was built by the first wave of gold seekers who came to Dawson, and its construction preceded the eventual alignment of the street. The building has housed a variety of commercial establishments including a blacksmith shop and a mortuary. The earliest part of the building is probably the earliest surviving building in Dawson City.
Lowe’s Mortuary is an example of early vernacular construction in the urban north of Canada. It is characterized by its false-front and long, low, single-storey form, which includes several additions. Its extension to the sidewalk and false front speak to Dawson’s transition from mining camp to commercial center. The building’s clearly legible series of additions speak to its increasing role in Dawson City and reflect a basic functional design. Several periods and uses are evident in its combination of gable and shed roofs and in its materials, which include log, cove siding and corrugated metal. The building’s many additions, range of materials and variety of methods of construction also provide a document that traces the transition of the community and offers evidence of changes in building skills and locally available materials.
Lowe’s Mortuary is compatible with the Gold Rush character of its commercial streetscape setting in Dawson. The building is familiar to residents of and visitors to Dawson City.
Margaret Archibald, Lowe’s Mortuary, Dawson, Yukon, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 86-091; Lowe’s Mortuary, Dawson, Yukon; Heritage Character Statement, 86-091
The character-defining elements of the Lowe’s Mortuary should be respected.
Its good functional design, materials and craftsmanship, for example;
- the low, one-storey massing, including its sequence of additions, all of which are topped by a combination of gable and shed roofs;
- the simple, plain false-front façade with painted lettering reading “Lowe’s Mortuary”;
- the log and wood frame construction;
- the wall materials including, log, cove siding and corrugated metal.
The manner in which Lowe’s Mortuary is compatible the Gold Rush character of its commercial streetscape setting and is a familiar building in Dawson, as evidenced by:
- its false-front and clearly visible log construction, which complements and contributes to Dawson’s historic gold rush character;
- its scale, wood-frame construction and materials, which complement the adjacent commercial buildings;
- its location within the historic downtown core, across the street from Winaut’s Store, which makes it known within its immediate area.