Winaut's Store

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Dawson, Yukon Territory
Front elevation of Winaut's Store, as seen from the west, 1987. © Parks Canada Agency /Agence Parcs Canada, 1987.
Front elevation
© Parks Canada Agency /Agence Parcs Canada, 1987.
Front elevation of Winaut's Store, as seen from the west, 1987. © Parks Canada Agency /Agence Parcs Canada, 1987.Winaut's Store, as seen from the east, 1987. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1987.Side view © ©Permission Guy Masson
Address : Second Avenue, Dawson, Yukon Territory

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1989-05-11
Dates:
  • 1902 to 1902 (Construction)

Custodian: Parks Canada
FHBRO Report Reference: 86-89
DFRP Number: 20019

Description of Historic Place

Winaut’s Store is situated on a busy pedestrian, commercial thoroughfare in Dawson City. The store consists of three, interconnected, timber structures whose elements include a lively Boomtown façade that incorporates a projecting cornice with a false gable peak, carried on four fanciful columns and large oriel windows. The ground floor features large plate glass windows and recessed double front door. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Winaut’s Store is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
Winaut’s Store is closely associated with the post-gold rush development of Dawson City as a goods and service and centre for the Klondike gold fields. The tenancies of William Horkan, a restauranter (1902-1903); Frank W. Herring, a men’s outfitter (1902-1906); Samuel J. Stewart and Harold W. England, clothiers and haberdashers (1910-1916); Herbert Winaut, a clothing merchant (1926-1942), and Jack Butterworth, a dealer in general merchandise(1942-1957), represent a continuity of commercial enterprise directed at Dawson’s predominantly male population, and notable for its consistency and longevity.

Architectural Value:
Winaut’s Store is valued for its very good aesthetic design. As part of a commercial block in Dawson City. It presents an ornate and finely proportioned exterior to the street, while behind the façade innovative and daring architectural and engineering details are found. These demonstrate a sophistication not generally found in Boomtown-fronted structures. It exhibits very good craftsmanship and handling of materials especially in the use of corrugated iron on the exterior to render the building fireproof.

Environmental Value:
Winaut’s Store reinforces the present character of its commercial streetscape setting in Dawson City and is familiar landmark to residents and visitors.

Sources:
Winaut’s Store, Second Avenue, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report Notes 86-089; Winaut’s Store, Second Avenue just north of Queen Street, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Heritage Character Statement 86-089.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Winaut’s Store should be respected.

Its boomtown, commercial block design and very good craftsmanship, for example: the one and two-storey massing of the wood frame construction; the deep entablature on the northernmost part of the block consisting of a projecting cornice, false gable peak on four columns supported by corbels and decorated corner pilasters, and the two oriel windows; the clearspan ground floor supported by a suspension rod dropped from the centre truss to pick up the end of the central beam; the system of posts and girders, framed lightwells and roof skylights, which together illuminate both floor spaces; the corrugated iron exterior cladding; the commercial signs painted on canvas or directly onto the wall surfaces.

The manner in which Winaut’s Store reinforces the present character of its commercial streetscape setting and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by: the block’s historic relationship to the busy thoroughfare, through its proximity to the boardwalk and the surrounding commercial premises; its form, materials and details, particularly on the street frontage, which are compatible with nearby historic buildings; its elaborate front and descriptive signage point to the building’s historic use and make it familiar to residents and visitors.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

The commercial block commonly known as Winaut's Store is in fact three connected buildings, erected by the Syndicat Lyonnais du Klondike in 1902.

Between 1902 and the final abandonment of the block in 1957, a number of external modifications were made to the block by a succession of restaurateurs and dry goods dealers. Between 1981 and 1983 Parks Canada undertook the restoration of the principal facade. The side and rear elevations were rehabilitated in 1986.

The building is owned by Parks Canada; interpretive displays have been installed in the show windows. See FHBRO Building Report 86-89.

Reasons for Designation

Winaut's Store was designated Recognized because of its thematic Associations, the special role it played in the development of the community, the visual qualities of the building, and the fine workmanship and skillful use of materials displayed in its construction. The building's environmental significance derives from the integrity of its relationship with the street, the contribution it makes to the character of the historic district, and its strong identity within the community.

The theme most closely identified with the building is the post-gold rush development of Dawson as a goods and service centre for the Klondike gold fields. The tenancies of William Horkan, a restauranteur (1902-1903); Frank W. Herring, a men's outfitter (102-1906); Samual J. Stewart and Harold W. England, clothiers and haberdashers (1910-1916); Herbert Winaut, a clothing merchant (1926-1942), and Jack Butterworth, a dealer in general merchandise (1942-1957), represent a continuity of commercial enterprise directed at Dawson's predominantly male population, and notable for its consistency and longevity.

The construction by Syndicat Lyonnais du Klondike of a new commercial block on Second Avenue in spring 1902 was a clear expression of confidence in the future of that commercial thoroughfare. The choice of an ornate and finely proportioned street face, of a type usually reserved for the higher valued properties on Front Street, set a new standard for Second Avenue businesses.

The northernmost building embodies a number of innovative and daring architectural/engineering details which demonstrate a sophistication not generally found in boomtown fronted structures. To accommodate the enormous oriel window at the second floor, a complex timber lattice truss spanning the full width of the building was introduced to carry the roof loads. To establish a clear span at the ground floor, an enormous suspension rod was dropped from the centre of the same truss to pick up the end of the central beam.

To flood the interior with daylight, large prefabricated sheet metal ridge-type skylights were placed on the roof. Beneath each is a correspondingly large lightwell to allow daylight to penetrate to the ground floor. Because the skylights are positioned over the central girder, the member is interrupted at each opening and the ends taken on posts. In addition to these structural novelties, all of the light framing members have been carefully wrapped in asbestos paper and the exterior sheathed in corrugated iron to render the building fireproof.

The relationship of the building to the street it faces, if one overlooks the change in elevation necessitated by the lifting of neighbouring buildings, is essentially the same as in 1902. While no longer part of an intact period streetscape, Winaut's is an important component at an historically important street intersection (Second Avenue and Queen Street), and is critical to its preservation. The position of the building on a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, opposite one of Dawson's largest hotels, and next door to one of Dawson's last surviving general merchandise retailers, has contributed to its conspicuous identity within the community.

Character Defining Elements

The heritage character of the block derives mainly from the boomtown architectural treatment given the street elevation in 1902. On the northernmost building, notable features include the deep entablature (a bold projecting cornice and false gable peak carried on four fanciful columns supported on corbels), the tall flagpole with weathervane, the corner pilasters enriched by decoration, and the enormous wood oriel window. A less imposing oriel window is the sole remarkable element belonging to the centre building. A large plate glass front (a recessed double front door, transom and splayed sidelights flanked by show windows, partitioned at the interior), which replaced the original ground floor fronts of all 3 buildings c.1910, is equally deserving of careful preservation. Essential to the heritage character of the block are the original and reproduction commercial signs painted on canvas and hung on the block or painted directly on the various wall surfaces.

The interior of the northernmost building is notable for the 1902 system of posts and girders, framed lightwells and roof skylights, which together, permitted the illumination of both the ground and second floors by daylight. A tenancy which would accommodate and utilize this innovative feature is encouraged.

The historic relationship between the block and the busy commercial thoroughfare of Second Avenue derives in part from the proximity of the building to the board walk, the dressed show windows, and the presence of such street furniture as the pipe-framed fixed awning, outdoor displays, and wood bench. The maintenance and/or development of these elements will contribute to the Gold Rush character sought by the community.

Considering the commercial character of the ground floor (recessed entrance, extensive show windows), the residential character of the second floor (oriel windows, stair access direct to street), and the use generally proclaimed by the period signage, the most appropriate and easily accommodated use for the building would be a combined commercial/residential tenancy.

A cluster of outbuildings, contemporary with the main block, which adjoined the west wall and extended back to the lane, was demolished before 1908. The existing detached warehouse dating from the 1930s is not included in this designation.