Straights Auction House/Guns & Ammo

This “boomtown” structure is known as Strait’s Auction House or locally as the Guns and Ammo Building because of the ‘Guns and Ammunition’ sign that adorned the east side of the façade for years. The building is a simple wood frame construction with false-front façade that was typical of many of the turn-of-the-century commercial buildings in Dawson City. Now owned by the Klondike Visitors Association, the Strait’s Auction House is still known as one of the most photographed buildings in Dawson City.

The once Auction house, second-hand store, and trading shop has an eventful history, read on below to learn about it’s change of hands and evaded demise!

STOP THAT BULLDOZER!

The Strait’s Auction House It was built in 1901 by Ebenezer Strait, who purchased the lot from James M. Wilson and Joseph Ladue, the latter being the man who founded the town site of Dawson City back in 1896.

Mr. Strait lived in this building, and ran it as Strait’s Auction House and Second Hand Store between 1901 and 1910. In 1902, the City of Dawson incorporated, leading to a tax increase from $150 to $500, which led to a mass exodus by business owners, who moved to unincorporated communities outside of town limits, such as Grand Forks or Hunker City. Mr. Strait was one of 41 merchants that kept their businesses open following the tax increase.

In 1911, Strait sold the property to the Dawson Trading Company Ltd. Here they sold groceries, hardware, tobacco, furniture, clothing, guns and ammunition until 1918, when Yoneda Okada, a Japanese who mined on Hunker and Last Chance Creeks, obtained title to the property, including all the merchandise that Strait left behind when he mysteriously left Dawson City and abandoned the auction house still stocked with all his belongings.

During Okada’s time as property owner, the building was operated as the Goodman Brothers Store, run by Jim and Dan Goodman, who had travelled over the Chilkoot Pass and down the Yukon River with Jack London. It was also known at Dawson Okada’s Store Throughout this time, it remained a store where various goods could be bought.

Okada held title until 1931 when Charles I. Tennant bought it.  The property reverted to the City of Dawson at a tax sale in March 1952.  It was later bought by Martin Dennis Victor III, an American who lived in Alaska.  Victor apparently made no improvements to the building or tax payments on the lot, which resulted in the City of Dawson slating it for demolition in 1971.  However, demolition never occurred. The building was picturesque and a favourite of visitors as well as locals. As bulldozers prepared to take down the building, Albert Fuhre, a local artist, headed a group of citizens to pitch in and raise the $600 purchase price from Victor. Community pressure prevailed, and the building was purchased, then donated to the Klondike Visitors Association, who paid the taxes and agreed to take on the upkeep of the lot and building. Bracing has been added throughout the years, but it has been left to tilt and demonstrate the influence of permafrost on Gold Rush-era structures.

 

Straights Auction House/Guns & Ammo

This “boomtown” structure is known as Strait’s Auction House or locally as the Guns and Ammo Building because of the ‘Guns and Ammunition’ sign that adorned the east side of the façade for years. The building is a simple wood frame construction with false-front façade that was typical of many of the turn-of-the-century commercial buildings in Dawson City. Now owned by the Klondike Visitors Association, the Strait’s Auction House is still known as one of the most photographed buildings in Dawson City.

The once Auction house, second-hand store, and trading shop has an eventful history, read on below to learn about it’s change of hands and evaded demise!

STOP THAT BULLDOZER!

The Strait’s Auction House It was built in 1901 by Ebenezer Strait, who purchased the lot from James M. Wilson and Joseph Ladue, the latter being the man who founded the townsite of Dawson City back in 1896.

Mr. Strait lived in this building, and ran it as Strait’s Auction House and Second Hand Store between 1901 and 1910. In 1902, the City of Dawson incorporated, leading to a tax increase from $150 to $500, which led to a mass exodus by business owners, who moved to unincorporated communities outside of town limits, such as Grand Forks or Hunker City. Mr. Strait was one of 41 merchants that kept their businesses open following the tax increase.

In 1911, Strait sold the property to the Dawson Trading Company Ltd. Here they sold groceries, hardware, tobacco, furniture, clothing, guns and ammunition until 1918, when Yoneda Okada, a Japanese who mined on Hunker and Last Chance Creeks, obtained title to the property, including all the merchandise that Strait left behind when he mysteriously left Dawson City and abandoned the auction house still stocked with all his belongings.

During Okada’s time as property owner, the building was operated as the Goodman Brothers Store, run by Jim and Dan Goodman, who had travelled over the Chilkoot Pass and down the Yukon River with Jack London. It was also known at Dawson Okada’s Store Throughout this time, it remained a store where various goods could be bought.

 Okada held title until 1931 when Charles I. Tennant bought it.  The property reverted to the City of Dawson at a tax sale in March 1952.  It was later bought by Martin Dennis Victor III, an American who lived in Alaska.  Victor apparently made no improvements to the building or tax payments on the lot, which resulted in the City of Dawson slating it for demolition in 1971.  However, demolition never occurred. The building was picturesque and a favourite of visitors as well as locals. As bulldozers prepared to take down the building, Albert Fuhre, a local artist, headed a group of citizens to pitch in and raise the $600 purchase price from Victor. Community pressure prevailed, and the building was purchased, then donated to the Klondike Visitors Association, who paid the taxes and agreed to take on the upkeep of the lot and building. Bracing has been added throughout the years, but it has been left to tilt and demonstrate the influence of permafrost on Gold Rush-era structures.