T.C. RICHARDS BUILDING

The TC Richards Building and lot is a municipal historic site designated for its historical and architectural values. This building was constructed in 1944 as a residence for Mr. Thomas Cecil (TC) Richards and his wife, Bernadette. Mr. Richards helped to develop and sustain the Whitehorse economy through his endeavours as a successful Whitehorse hotelier, merchant, freighter, and entrepreneur. The Richards played an important role in Whitehorse society as they regularly provided their lavishly furnished home for social events. The TC Richards Building provides a glimpse into the local high society in the 1940s and 1950s and illustrates the prosperity enjoyed during this period. The TC Richards Building is the most central and prominent of the residences in Whitehorse that were influenced by the American Arts& Crafts Movement combined with an (American) Colonial Revival style. Using locally drawn plans and materials, builders constructed the house to Mrs. Richards specifications, who then personally decorated and furnished the family home. The log construction and distinctive gambrel roof with its shed dormers are features that combined with its location give the property landmark status within the downtown area. The building continues to be significant to the community. Purchased by the Yukon Government in 1951, the property has evolved through the years from a teacher's residence to office space. Extensive renovations in 1981 increased its functionality by providing leased office space for several territory-wide non-profit organizations. Sources: Minutes from the City of Whitehorse Heritage Advisory Committee, October 25, 2001 and City of Whitehorse Bylaw 2001-61.

Construction Period: From 1940 to 1965        Designation Level: Municipal

The TC Richards Building and lot is a municipal historic site designated for its historical and architectural values.

This building was constructed in 1944 as a residence for Mr. Thomas Cecil (TC) Richards and his wife, Bernadette. Mr. Richards helped to develop and sustain the Whitehorse economy through his endeavours as a successful Whitehorse hotelier, merchant, freighter, and entrepreneur. The Richards played an important role in Whitehorse society as they regularly provided their lavishly furnished home for social events. The TC Richards Building provides a glimpse into the local high society in the 1940s and 1950s and illustrates the prosperity enjoyed during this period.

The TC Richards Building is the most central and prominent of the residences in Whitehorse that were influenced by the American Arts& Crafts Movement combined with an (American) Colonial Revival style. Using locally drawn plans and materials, builders constructed the house to Mrs. Richards specifications, who then personally decorated and furnished the family home. The log construction and distinctive gambrel roof with its shed dormers are features that combined with its location give the property landmark status within the downtown area.

The building continues to be significant to the community. Purchased by the Yukon Government in 1951, the property has evolved through the years from a teacher's residence to office space. Extensive renovations in 1981 increased its functionality by providing leased office space for several territory-wide non-profit organizations.

Sources: Minutes from the City of Whitehorse Heritage Advisory Committee, October 25, 2001 and City of Whitehorse Bylaw 2001-61.

Character Defining Elements

- Location and setting

- Horizontal sawn log construction exposed on the exterior, gambrel shingled roof, shed roofed dormers, exterior brick chimneys, log addition

- Log cabin siding with saplings between logs on dormer walls and gables, oversize molding on the bargeboard of the gables and dormers

- Interior finishing on the main floor such as the pine paneling, brick fireplaces, built-in pine and leaded-pane bookcase, and multi-lite French doors

- Full basement, with wood strip flooring and stone fireplace

- Wood staircase from main floor to second floor

Description of Boundaries

Lot 1 Block 27 Plan 3807A CLSR YT

Historical Sources Location

YHMA File:

--acc. #Y039, Historic Buildings of Whitehorse, Yukon Historical & Museum's Association, 1980, text & photographs

--biographical information on T.C. Richards.

--interview with Bert Law, Jean Horbottle, Dermot Flynn, Howard Ryder re: T.C. Richards

--information on Pat Burns, owner of Burns Meats, for whom Richards worked

Yukon Archives:

--photograph #4087 (1945)

Renovation Information

Extensive interior and exterior renovations undertaken in 1981 including addition of shed roofed log entry to south side.

Cultural History

This house was constructed by Bob Campbell and Martin Marx in July 1944 for T.C. Richards and family, following Mrs. Bernadine Richards specifications. Whitehorse resident, Joe Krautschneider constructed the brick chimneys. It was furnished and decorated expensively by Mrs. Richards. T.C. Richards was a generous and 'colourful' character, and his home, with its stone fireplaces in the study, living room, and rumpus room, became a social centre in Whitehorse.

T.C. Richards came from Leicester, England to manage Burns Meats. In 1921, he began the first cattle drive to the Mayo area mines to provide the camps with fresh meat. Cattle were transported by steamer to Pelly, then driven overland the remainder of the route. Also in 1921, he and partner W.L. 'Deacon' Phelps inaugurated a winter tractor-train and passenger service from Whitehorse to Dawson. In 1928, they acquired the mail contract, and improved their service with triple assembly snowmobiles and caterpillars. The enterprise was called "Klondike Airways" although they never owned a plane. In 1937, T.C. won $20,000 as a down payment on the Whitehorse Inn in a poker game. The family operated and lived at the Whitehorse Inn until 1944 when their log home was constructed.

After the family left their home in 1951, it was purchased by Yukon Government and used as a teacherage, then later occupied by the Whitehorse Game Branch, the Labour Standards Department, and the Tourism Department.

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce took over the management of the building in April 1976 for the Yukon Government and a major rehabilitation occurred in 1981 to create office space. The Chamber of Commerce hired the architectural firm Kilrich, Metz, Bowen, and Rose to design and oversee major interior and exterior renovations. The contractors were Kewes and Sons. These renovations were completed to meet current building codes, increase insulation values, create more useable office space and provide an area for a Visitor Reception Centre on the main floor. Currently (2006) non-profit organizations lease office space in the building.

Documentation Location

File 3630 50 05 TC RIchards Building Heritage Resources, Cultural Services Branch, Government of Yukon

Building Style

The building is of squared horizontal log construction with a gambrel roof and shed dormers. The painted log walls have lap joints at the corners and the gambrel roof is covered with wood shakes, as are the shed roof dormers. The dormers and gable ends have log cabin siding nailed in place with saplings between the logs. The foundation is concrete, and can be seen above grade. There is a brick chimney on each end of the building, the chimney on the west end has a double flue. Interior is framed with dimensional lumber. A log solarium is on the east wall and is part of the original construction. The existing log vestibule on the north wall with a shed roof clad with shakes was enlarged in the 1981 renovations.

In 1981 a frame addition with a gable roof was added above the log solarium on the east wall. The new skirt roof continues on the same slope on the north side as the original gambrel roof. An enclosed sun porch with shed roof was constructed on the south wall and has log siding for its exterior sheathing and wood shakes on the roof.