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V.I.P. Excursion to Atlin, BC, 1902

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

An Explorer's Guide to Atlin, BC

The Weekly Star (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory), Saturday, September 6, 1902

Excursion Trip To Atlin, 1902. A Jolly Party Visits the British Columbia Town. Interesting Description of the Trip by one of the Party - Hospitable Manner in Which They Were Treated.

    Friday morning, August 29, 1902, Vice-President Newell's private car left Whitehorse occupied by a merry party of excursionists bound for Atlin. The Skagway members of the party were met at Caribou and all hands promptly conducted to the hospitable Gleaner by the jovial purser, Mr. Harry Price.

    Through the courtesy of Sergeant Hilling of the N. W. M. P., stationed at Caribou, the hours intervening before the departure of the Gleaner for Taku were most pleasantly spent on the lake in a launch engineered by Mr. Holt, formerly of the Whitehorse town station.

    The Gleaner left earlier than her usual hour in order that the beauteous scenery of Taku Arm might be viewed. Arriving at Taku next morning early, after breakfast, we transferred to the diminutive branch of the White Pass railway - the Taku Limited, which skirts the peninsula, at the far side of which is Scotia bay. At the terminus of this railway is the landing of the steamer Scotia which meets the trains and transfers to Atlin His Majesty's mail, freight and passengers.

    When we arrived in Atlin we numbered sixteen, (counting the mascot, Beatrice Mellott) being Mr. J. Francis Lee, Mr. A. H. and Mrs. Mackay, Mr. C. D. Mackay, and Mr. Newton of Skagway, Mrs. Pruner, of Caribou, Messrs. Price and Ashton of the Gleaner, Mesdames Scharschmidt, Edwards and Mellott, Misses O'Keefe and Pare, Messrs. Drapes and Graves of Whitehorse.

    Immediately upon arrival at Atlin arrangements were made with stages to drive the group to Discovery, where the interesting process of hydraulic mining was in full swing. Many mining properties in this vicinity have changed hands within the year and new life seems to have been diffused throughout the camp. Much money has been put in and it is a pleasure to record that satisfactory results are the outcome. Without doubt there has been quite a "wake-up" throughout this part of the country. Last year at this time there was but one hydraulic plant in operation - this year there are several. One very interesting clean-up was made for the benefit of the sight-seers and it proved the exceptionally good quality of Mr. Ruffner's claims. Mr. and Mrs. Blinck and Mr. Ruffner did the honors of the occasion and piloted the party to every interesting place that time so limited would permit.

    After a "square" meal the return began. The road is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, the scenery being grand, the road itself smooth, dark mould, banked on either side by the most beautiful vegetation.

    Returning to the Hotel Royal, a most excellent dinner was served by mine host Rosselli. The party then returned to the Grand Hotel where ping-pong, music, vocal and instrumental, and dancing were enjoyed until midnight.

    Sunday morning was a "rest" morning for all, except an appointed committee who attended church as representatives of the party. A new bell was installed in the church - the Anglican - and used for the first time that morning. Sunday afternoon we took in the town of Atlin, noting many improvements, among these being the enlargement of the hospital, the new school-house, an addition to the English church and the completion of the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

    The curious banks of magnesia, commonly valied alkali lakes, were inspected. The value of these would be immense were they within short transportation distance of drug centers. Enough wild strawberries, fragrant and luscious, were gathered to form favors for the grand dinner following, which was served at the Kootenay. Owing to the courtesy of Mr. Scharschmidt, the schedule of the Scotia was so arranged that a special trip was made Sunday evening to bring us back to the Gleaner for a day's fishing and hunting at Taku.

    Sunday evening the residents of Taku joined us aboard the Gleaner and a musical evening was enjoyed.

    Monday was spent in devious ways, boating, fishing, hunting and picture taking. We left Taku Monday at 6 o'clock and arrived at Caribou at 8 next morning. It was with regret we reached our journey's end and we united unanimously in according to the "boys" of the Gleaner our heartfelt thanks for their thoughtfulness and attention given throughout the trip - Mr. Price has "one" coming for the excellent dinners planned and "executed."

    On the whole this trip is the most beautiful and interesting one to be taken in the north; the magnitude of nature's handiwork is pre-eminent - grand old Jubilee mountain and its companions, with the surrounding lakes and glaciers are superb.