The Casey Car House is valued for its association with the White Pass &Yukon Railway Company Ltd. (WP&YR). The WP&YR was instrumental to the growth and development of Whitehorse. It owned most of the original townsite and planned and surveyed the street grid and lots. The Casey Car House is part of a complex of structures and historic buildings on the Whitehorse waterfront related to the company.
Gas-powered vehicles, nicknamed "Casey Cars" are used to inspect rail tracks and transport rail crews to their work sites. This structure is one of the small utility buildings which housed this key piece of equipment that were located along the railway between Skagway and Whitehorse. WP&YR holdings on the waterfront included operational offices, residences, warehouses, workshops, wharves and shipyards.
This small structure is a good example of the casual way in which WP&YR re-used and relocated buildings. The building was a residence in the shipyards until the late 1950s or early 1960s when it was moved south closer to the wharf and locomotive repair shed. Its function changed from residence to storage. After the original Casey Car house was stolen by thieves with a flatbed truck, this building became the new storage house for the car.
In 1969 or 1970, the building was moved to its present site. WP&YR used it until the railway shut down in 1982. It was purchased by the Government of Yukon and is currently used as a workshop and for equipment storage.
This single-storey building is T-shaped after a recent addition off the west wall was added to the original rectangular structure. The clapboard siding with corner boards, plain trim around the windows and doors and the shingled gable roof are typical features of early buildings in Whitehorse. Much of the exterior is original including doors and windows. The freight doors have been replaced.
For close to 80 years, the Whitehorse waterfront was populated with WP&YR buildings that supported either the rail or riverboat operations. This service complex included many small, utilitarian buildings like the Casey Car House. Today, the history of the city as a company town and transportation centre is represented by the Casey Car House and the nearby historic structures including, the White Pass & Yukon Railway Depot, locomotive repair shed, trainsmen's houses and the Casey Car House.
Midnight Arts The White Pass and Yukon Railway Depot, Whitehorse: and associated structures. A Structural History. Prepared for Tourism Yukon, Historic Sites, 1998.
Historic Sites Unit, Cultural Services Branch, Yukon Government file 3630 40 02.
"All along the railway, there were dozens of utility buildings for storage equipment and materials used by section crews in the maintenance and operation of the railway. A casey car was housed here. Casey cars were small, gas-powered rail trucks that transported crews to their work sites. The vintage of the structure is unknown though its design and shiplap siding would place it before 1950. It was likely that it was moved onto this site and had previously served a different purpose. According to one source, it may have been the residence of the railway section foreman and was moved here from Whiskey Flats. The building features a set of double doors track-side to allow ease of access for the car."
Excerpt from Edge of the River,Heart of the City by H.Dobrowolsky & R.Ingram, Lost Moose 1994.
Character Defining Elements
The character defining elements include:
- Location and orientation of the building adjacent to the railway tracks
- Original rectangular plan
- Arrangement of original doors and windows
- Exterior elements including wood windows, trims, cladding and roof
Description of Boundaries
Lot 1, Block 310, Plan 73672 Whitehorse, YT
Historical Sources Location
--Dobrowolsky, H & R.Ingram. Edge of the River, Heart of the City. Lost Moose: 1994.
--"Waterfront history should be considered", 1993-02-17
--"City missing boat on waterfront", 1993-02-17
Midnight Arts, "The White Pass and Yukon Railway Depot, Whitehorse: and associated structures. A Structural History". Prepared for Tourism Yukon, Historic Sites, 1998.
Small wood frame L-shaped structure. Approx 10'X10'; gable roof w/ asphalt shingles; shiplap siding.
The Casey Car House is one of the few buildings remaining on the waterfront that was once associated with the operation and maintenance of the White Pass & Yukon Railway in Whitehorse. The building began as a residence for WP&YR workers and was later moved south closer to the wharf and eventually used to house the casey car, a small gas-powered vehicle used to inspect the rails and transport workers, after the original casey car house was stolen. The building was moved again in 1969 or 1970 to its current location. The WP&YR continued to use the building until the railway shut down in 1982. Today, Yukon Government owns the building and uses it as a workshop and storage shed.
Historic Sites Unit, Cultural Services Branch, Yukon Government file 3630 50 20