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Caribou Crossing, Caribou, or Carcross?

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

An Explorer's Guide to Carcross, Yukon

The Daily Evening Star (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory), Monday, November 27, 1905

, 1905

    Caribou, Nov. 23, 1905
Editor Star, (Closeleigh) Whitehorse, Y.T.,

    Dear Sir: - Accepting your suggestion that the people of this town place themselves upon record as to name preferred, now that Caribou is growing and gaining in importance, I will say:

    The original name was Caribou Crossing as you stated. As a matter of convenience it was commonly called Caribou for short. By that name the place is remembered by every argonaut of '97 and '98 and later, and to all old-timers here it is a land mark. The mere fact that an obscure place in the vicinity of Dawson was called Caribou did not justify the postoffice department in changing the name, as Caribou near Dawson was not a postoffice - Dominion postoffice being the place at which that Caribou mail was handled - and the further fact that occasionally a few pieces of mail went astray down the river and had to be returned was also no valid reason for the change as the same thing occurred once in a while with Whitehorse mail and that for other places. This was simply a case of miscarriage on the part of the postoffice department and is bound to occur now and then.

    A better reason would have been the fact that there formerly was - if not now - a Caribou postoffice in British Columbia. But then only the ignorant suffered through that as that postoffice was in another province, and the proper addressing of mail matter would have obviated any trouble on that score.

    The change of name of our postoffice was made at the request of Rt. Rev. Bishop Bonpas, and several months before the change was actually made he broached the subject to different ones here who all opposed it. Later on he took the matter up with Inspector McLeod and an arbitary order from the postoffice followed. Nobody else - residents of this community or patrons of the postofice - were consulted in the matter and the present situation, confusing in its results, is the consequence.

    The Railway company, Express company and the Dominion Telegraph continue to use the old name as do the owners of the townsite. The townsite was surveved three times at great expense and the name of Caribou is recorded at Ottawa.

    The postoftice people, of course, called it Carcross and the police and customs departments followed suit, the latter I think arbitrarily as the railroad company which asked for no change in name bears a large portion of the expense in maintaining this department here.

    It would be easy enough, I venture to say, to get nineteen out of twenty of our people here to petition the government to resume the use of the old name and drop Carcross, which not one out twenty calls the place.

    As to the name, Carcross, vour insinuation is hardly correct as the good old bishop may have taken the first sylable of each word contained in Caribou Crossing to evolve it. On the other hand the writer knows the bishop's original intention was to call it "Deer Crossing" instead of Carcross.

    That Bishop Bompas meant well and that he was looking to the good of all goes without saying, but it has not proved to be a good move. The present situation results in mianoderstandings and inconvenience to all and the undersigned and others are emphatically in favor of relegating the experimental, bastard and mongrel name of Carcross to "innocuous desuetude."

    If "Carcross" has any champions let them come forward.

                J. H. FICKARDT.

    Here is the definition of that wonderful final word, "desuetude":
In law, desuetude is a doctrine that causes statutes, similar legislation, or legal principles to lapse and become unenforceable by a long habit of non-enforcement or lapse of time. It is what happens to laws that are not repealed when they become obsolete.