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Thread: 1949 color film of steaming the Yukon...

  1. #1
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    Default 1949 color film of steaming the Yukon...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej37rLeu-JI

    Interesting video that you may have seen, but first for me this eve.
    As late as 1949 steam sternwheelers were still "wooding up" at
    landings. Am guessing coal and oil were in short supply. Around
    27 minutes in they winch through the 5 Fingers Rapids. Fascinating
    stuff with a color film view of steam boat life. Title is " A 1949 Steam
    Adventure from Skagway to Dawson" on YouTube. This is a home movie
    with no sound.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the tip. I know nothing about Northwest steamboating other than Kahlke Yards built a couple of boats for use up there. And since I prefer my cruising to be in warm climes, I obviously haven't been up there either.

  3. #3
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    *RE: 'Steaming the Yukon.*
    Greetings, steamboating colleagues,
    Thanks, Luke, for the great Yukon steamboating footage (C. 1949) here. Those steamers survived but a few years after 1949 if I recall seeing a vintage NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article on them in full color. Reminded me a little of vintage GORDON C. GREENE trip movies. I didn't hit Alaska until early 1970s with the steamboats gone by then. Came in on an older steamship and then on the vintage railroad out of Skagway. Skagway and Dawson didn't look much different I thought with gravel streets, raised wood sidewalks. Views of those big wood yards loading fuel impressive. But can you imagine the long, cold, dark winters? I was there 2nd week of August with autumn already settling in. Didn't the Howards in Jeffersonville also build, equip, send workers to Alaska for boats then.

    R. Dale Flick on the shores of mighty Lake Michigan for the summer.

  4. #4
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    Dale... yes, I seem to recall all the major builders sold "kit" boats and were shipped to be built on site. I believe
    quite a few were sent ( and constructed ) in South America as well. Always read about the "wooding up" at
    landings, but most archival photos only showed the coal landings, and then bunker oil. I especially enjoyed
    seeing the Mate ( ? ) or Clerk using the measuring stick to pick out his wood requirements. Pretty neat stuff!
    Enjoy your respite in Michigan... the Mrs. and I are heading for Mackinaw Island this October for a laid back
    few days off. Been involved with historical research where I've been studying the fur trade, and the Island
    is steeped in American Fur Company history housed at their beautiful library.

  5. #5
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    *Yukon steamers/Wood yards*
    Steamboating colleagues,
    Thanks, Luke, for follow comments above. Yes, I also noticed the boat's officer/Purser or whatever 'measuring' the impressive stacks of cord wood for, no doubt, his purchase. I also saw the one crew man handling the wheeled wood cart or bin from the bank down to the boat's deck on the rail track--and it went fast. I can only wonder what the fuel bill $$ was for the cord wood? No doubt use of plentiful wood a blessing during the rationing days of World War II with other petroleum products scarce. With Alaska's huge forests wood today still a major item in usage along with export to the lower states, Japan, China, Europe etc. The Yukon boats had that 'certain' look so much resembling steamboats on the Sacramento and other rivers and bays in the Pacific Northwest. Their lower decks completely enclosed around freight storage, wood supply, boilers and engines--not partially open like our Mississippi/Ohio and other steamboats. Before winter set in Alaskan boats hauled out of the river on tracks for land storage until spring. The navigation season so short in Alaska I wonder how they made enough money to cover the long months of winter laid up? Again, the more I view this movie the more I see. Our local area here in Michigan where I summer once a way-stop for the French fur traders. Many local names in the small village here have French roots.

    R. Dale Flick on the shores of mighty Lake Michigan for the summer.

  6. #6

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    My how I would love to recreate that same trip today! Steamboatin' overnight on the Yukon River would be a dream trip. I've been as far north as Carcross, and luckily at that time the Str. TUTSHI was still with us albeit high and dry on land.

  7. #7
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    Attached is a link that gives a shot by shot commentary of the 1949 film that includes
    names, places, etc. Interesting stuff! http://railsnorth.com/1949film/index.html

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