The Telegraph Office is a municipal historic site recognized for its historical, architectural and social values.
Built in 1900, it is one of two surviving buildings in Whitehorse that pre-date 1905. The Telegraph Office is typical of the buildings that were constructed along the Yukon portion of the nationally commemorated Dawson-Ashcroft Telegraph Line. Department of Public Works work crews developed a common vernacular style and design for the Yukon stations.
These buildings were constructed of logs hewn on 3 sides spiked to log uprights at the corners and shared architectural features such as the symmetrical placement of twin entryways flanked by single hung 6/6 windows, simple wood trims, gable roof and a rectangular plan. Twin entryways reflect the interior of the building divided by a log partition into the public telegraph office and private living quarters.
The 1898 Klondike Gold Rush attracted thousands of stampeders; it was soon apparent that a rapid and reliable communication system was required and by 1899, Dawson City was connected to the outside world. Initially the telegraph office was constructed in White Horse on the east bank of the Yukon River. After the terminus of the White Pass & Yukon Route railway was built on the west side of the river, the town site relocated and a new building was erected re-using some of the materials from the original office. This building was used as a telegraph office and operator residence for 27 years.
The social values of the building are reflected in its later functions. From the late 1920s until the early 1930s, the Telegraph Office was the headquarters for the Boy Scouts. In 1952, the newly-formed Yukon Historical Society opened a museum in the building. Its successor, MacBride Museum, continued to use the building for over 60 years making it a significant part of Yukon's history of cultural preservation and interpretation.
The building has undergone few changes over the years, with new flooring on the first floor, a new porch, and a new foundation.
Source: Historic Sites Unit, Cultural Services Branch, Yukon Government file 3630 50 21.