Dredge No. 4 National Historic Site of Canada

Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory
General view of Dredge No. 4 showing its setting in the field of dredging activity near Bonanza Creek, 1996. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J Butterill, 1996.
General view
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J Butterill, 1996.
General view of Dredge No. 4 showing its setting in the field of dredging activity near Bonanza Creek, 1996. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, J Butterill, 1996.Interior view of Dredge No. 4 showing its materials such as the wooden hull and metal equipment, 1995. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Wayne Lynch, 1995.General view of Dredge No. 4 showing the systems associated with the vessel’s structure and function as mining equipment, 2000. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, JF Bergeron, 2000.
Address : Lot 586, group 1052, Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1997-09-22
Dates:
  • 1912 to 1913 (Construction)
  • 1912 to 1940 (Significant)
  • 1941 to 1958 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Yukon Consolidated Gold Company (alterations/operator)  (Organization)
  • Canadian Klondike Mining Co. (builder/operator)  (Builder)
Other Name(s):
  • Dredge No. 4  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1997-44; 1986-30
DFRP Number: 56485

Plaque(s)


This floating bucket-line dredge symbolizes the importance of Yukon’s gold dredging operations in Canada from 1899 to 1966, when the last of its kind shut down. Built in 1912 by the Canadian Klondike Mining Company, this machine worked the gravels of the Klondike River Valley. Dismantled and refurbished by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Company in 1940, it mined Bonanza Creek until 1959 and sank the next year when a dam burst. Dredge No. 4 illustrates the evolution of gold mining in this area, from the labour-intensive manual techniques of early prospectors to large-scale, corporate industrial extraction methods.

Description of Historic Place

Dredge No. 4 is a preserved bucketline sluice dredge used to mine placer gold. Located at its last place of operation on Bonanza Creek in the Klondike goldfields just outside of Dawson City, Yukon, it is now preserved and operated as a historic site.

Heritage Value

Dredge No. 4 was declared a National Historic Site of Canada as symbolic of: the importance of dredging operations in the Yukon (1899-1966), and aspects of the evolution of gold mining in the Klondike from early labour-intensive to later corporate industrial phases of gold extraction.

Dredge No. 4 was constructed in 1912-13 by the Canadian Klondike Mining Co. to mine the gravels of the Klondike River Valley. It was dismantled when paying gravels ran out in 1940. All of its major mechanical components were refurbished by the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation and encased in a new wooden hull and superstructure built on Bonanza Creek. From September 1941 to the fall of 1958 it mined Bonanza Creek. There, it sank on its present site in 1959. It has since been preserved as a National Historic Site.

The heritage value of Dredge No. 4 lies in its association with Klondike gold mining and in its illustration of the process of bucketline sluice dredging used by corporations to mine placer gold in the Klondike Gold Fields in the 1899-1966 period.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes November 1987, June 1997; Commemorative Integrity Statement, August 1999.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which contribute to the heritage value of this site include: the completeness of the vessel including its hull, superstructure, gold processing facilities and ancillary equipment; the systems associated with the vessel’s structure and function as mining equipment; its functional design and disposition of space; its materials such as the wooden hull and metal equipment; those structural components developed specifically for use in northern dredging, including hardened bucket lips, heating systems (steam boilers and electric heaters) and double walls, its shore deadmen and related cable system, its setting in the field of dredging activity near Bonanza Creek, its viewplanes to gold field tailings and to Bonanza Creek, its linkage to other sites and landscape features related to corporate mining – the Bear Creek camp site, the power plant, other dredge sites, roads, power and telephone line systems.