From reseach for the Carcross Walking Tour study: "The original Caribou Hotel has been identified as either the Yukon Hotel or the Vendome Hotel from Bennett, which was shipped on scows to Carcross. The Whitehorse Star (1901-05-15) says," W.A. Anderson, the well-known hotel man of Bennett, will shortly remove his hotel to that place [Caribou]". In the same issue, "Mr. W.A. Anderson, of the Vendome Hotel has purchased the Yukon Hotel, building and contents. It is his intention to float the whole on scows through the rapids." Several months later The Whitehorse Star (1901-11-29) ran the ad, "For Sale (cheap) Finely furnished hotel with all the latest improvements, bath, etc. Apply to W.A.Anderson, Caribou, YT." The hotel was possibly named the Anderson Hotel for a time.
This building burned to the ground on Christmas Eve 1909, taking with it the railway depot and a store situated beside it and owned by George Fickhard. The present Caribou Hotel was built in 1910, making it one of the oldest operating hotels in the Yukon.
For many years, 1918-1972, Polly the Parrot lived here and entertained the guests with her renditions of "I Love You Truly" and "Springtime in the Rockies".
From Bruce Barrett, The Caribou Hotel: An Historical Assessment and Overview, January 1986.
The Caribou Hotel probably started life as the Yukon Hotel in Bennett and was transported across Lake Bennett to Carcross on a scow by the owner, W. A. Anderson. In 1903 it was purchased by Dawson Charlie, one of the discoverers of gold in the Klondike. The business prospered under several different owners until it burned to the ground in December 1909. The owner at that time, E. W. Gideon, built a new hotel on the spot in 1910 using material from a two-story building torn down in Conrad. The Caribou Hotel has undergone little change structurally or cosmetically since that time and the exterior remains virtually as constructed. During WWII, the hotel was taken over by the U.S. Army who used it for housing. The Caribou has been the longest operating hotel in the Yukon and is one of the oldest Yukon businesses of any kind still in operation.
May 19, 1901, Anderson applies to Hugh McKinnon, on VENDOME HOTEL (Bennett) stationery, for a hotel licence at "Carriboo Crossing." Opened as the ANDERSON HOTEL.
May 1903, managed by Theodore M. Watson; still called the ANDERSON HOTEL in the Star (May 23). Watson went on to join his father Charles at the Windy Arm Hotel, Conrad, in 1906. July 1904, managed by Mrs. E. Ready. October 1906, leased ? by R. J. Brittain. Following Dawson Charlie's death on January 26, 1908, Edwin W. and Bessie Geraldine Gideon rented it from his estate (starting September 1, 1908). Burned on December 24, 1909; Colonel Conrad's house, just around the corner on the Lake Bennett waterfront, was used as temporary hotel until new one built.
Rebuilt by the Gideons in 1910, with financing from Jack Stewart. Gideons owned the hotel until Mr. Gideon died in 1925. Mrs. Gideon continued running the hotel until her death, in the hotel, on October 27, 1933. Bessie's sister, Louise V. Dawson, had been helping her manage the hotel, and was executrix of her estate. The hotel was on a lot which was rented from Annie Austin, for $75 per year. The ghost of Mrs. Bessie Gideon is said to roam the third floor. Rented by Jack McMurphy ca.1939-1940. Operated by Dorothy Hopcott from 1959. N.D. owned by May Florence Ross for 9 years; she died in Chilliwack, BC, February 13, 1991, at 92 years old.
Polly the Parrot moved into the hotel in 1918, when Captain James Alexander, owner of Engineer Mine (BC Minister of Mines, 1913) asked the Gideons to take care of him (Polly was a male) while he and his wife went Outside; they were killed in the wreck of the Princess Sophia.