WHITEHORSE – Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor is pleased to announce the designation of the A.J. Goddard shipwreck, the sole remaining example of the small sternwheelers used during the Klondike Gold Rush, as a Yukon Historic Site under the Historic Resources Act.
“The Yukon government is pleased to designate this important piece of our history,” Tourism and Culture Minister Elaine Taylor said. “The A.J. Goddard is not only a testament to the ingenuity, sense of adventure and determination of those men and women who took part in the Klondike Gold Rush, but also to the key role that the river and sternwheelers played in the economic development of Yukon.”
Prefabricated in San Francisco, carried in pieces over the passes north of Skagway and assembled at Lake Bennett, the A.J. Goddard transported people and goods between Whitehorse and Dawson during the Gold Rush. In 1901 it sunk to the bottom of Lake Laberge during a severe storm, killing three of its crew members.
The wreck remained undiscovered until June 2008 when a group of divers representing the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Yukon Transportation Museum located it during a field study on Yukon River sternwheelers. Photo documentation and surveying began last summer and will continue this summer.
“The designation of the A.J. Goddard recognizes this small, work-a-day survivor of the Gold Rush as something more than just another shipwreck,” says James Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and a member of the diving crew. “Preserved as a frozen moment in time in Lake Laberge, the Goddard powerfully speaks to the people who built it, operated it, lived and worked, and died on it to make history on the Canadian frontier.”
Recreational divers wanting to visit the site are required to fill out a site access form available at the Historic Sites office at 204 Lambert Street in suite 304, or online at tc.gov.yk.ca/archaeology and click on the archaeological sites regulation permits link.
An official designation ceremony will take place later this summer.
Communications, Tourism and Culture