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Newsletter - September 2020


In this issue: Annual General Meeting - Beer Barge Products - Summer Renovation Work - Giant Mine Remediation Update - Acquisitions and Donations - Down Memory Lane

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Our 2020 annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at the Baker’s Centre, starting at 6pm. This year things are a bit different due to pandemic procedures…there will be no food or drink served, and there are capacity limits. Please RSVP with the coordinator ( to confirm attendance. Teleconferencing options may be available. There will be an election of officers; if you’d like to join the Board of Directors, please put your name forward for election.


The Beer Barge glass steins have arrived! Our wonderful model was sad that Beer Barge didn't happen this year, but makes do anyways by pouring her suds in this 20-ounce stein. Price is $25 in support of the Yellowknife Historical Society and Beer Barge 2021. Limited quantity available, either by contacting the Society or checking out Jake Olsen's shop YK Gold and Silver next to the Black Knight Pub! They will also be for sale at the AGM.

Beer Barge Cup


Eddie Paul of Nextreme Construction completed work on structural repairs to the museum building. This year, we targeted a roof post, kitchen floor, and foundation sill that required replacement due to historic rot damage. This damage was uncovered last summer during volunteer gutting of the floor in the back of the building. There were a few cost overruns, but the $31,000 project is to be completed this fall.

Summit Roofing has been engaged to inspect our roof and make necessary changes to ensure it remains in good shape. They will also build a new front landing.

This work is possible thanks to ongoing funding from the GNWT Education, Culture and Employment, and the City of Yellowknife.

We held a few work parties with a focus on painting the metal screens that cover our windows. Helmut Epp took a lead on this work, with the assistance of Marie Adams, Ryan Silke, Dave Kellet, Conrad Schubert, and Ben Schubert. Marie Adams also planted some flowers at the log cabin and kept them nicely watered all summer.


The Giant Mine Remediation Project water license has been recommended for approval by the Mackenzie Valley Land & Water Board, and is now before the federal government for official approval. The board did not rule in favour of any compensation to third party interests (including the Society) but we will work with the Remediation Project to ensure that our various assets in the area are preserved in the event that remediation activities need to happen at our Outdoor Display area.


Thank you to the following people and organizations for the recent donations:

Alice Payne – Daughter of famous Yellowknife prospector Thomas Payne, who staked some of the first gold claims in the area back in 1936, donated $21,000 towards our projects! A very generous and thoughtful contribution to preserving Yellowknife history…thanks Alice, and good luck in your retirement!

North of 60 Adventures – This Yellowknife-based tourism company donated $300 in exchange for materials to be used in their tour activities, highlighting trapping and prospecting lifestyles. Check them out on Facebook!

Peter Houweling – Peter, a local welder and owner of Kavanaugh Brothers waste disposal company, donated his time to help repair the Giant Mine fire truck. In 2015, somebody cut off the door to take home a souvenir. They later felt so sorry for having done it, the door was returned with an apology note. We have finally gotten around to fixing the door, and Peter generously brought out a welding machine to secure it back onto the fire truck!

Steve Goff minerals – Moira Cameron donated a collection of rocks and minerals to the Society. They were collected by Steve Goff, a geologist who passed away in 2009. Thank you to Walt Humphries and Diane Baldwin for facilitating this donation.

Peter Chambers – This Con Mine storekeeper worked on the construction of Con Mine’s Robertson shaft headframe in 1976-1977, and all he got was this T-Shirt! Thanks Peter for donating the shirt to our collection, it is a nice memory of the famous landmark.

Patricia Rapley – Donated in memory of Clementine Salo, a souvenir ‘gold’ brick produced in 1958 for the 21st birthday of Yellowknife (1937-1958).


Our new conceptual artwork for the future museum exterior and interior views is completed! Check them out below:

Rendering 1




Rendering 2
Rendering 3


Amy Wilding reached out to us this spring to share photographs by her great uncle Otto Berg (1904-1969) who lived in Yellowknife in the 1930s-1940s. Here he is with a friend cutting up firewood in front of the Wildcat Café. Otto lived in the north many years and at one time owned the 'Berg Photography Studio" in Whitehorse, Yukon. In the capacity of a professional photographer, he recorded many places and scenes in the North that held meaning to him, many of which are preserved at the University of Saskatchewan library.

Otto Berg

We also heard from Deborah Clemons, granddaughter of Jimmy Blaisdell, a gold prospector around Yellowknife between 1938-1942. There is actually a lake named after him northeast of the city, where he had his gold claims. Here is a photo of Blaisdell stepping off an airplane at Goldfields in Northern Saskatchewan.



The Yellowknife Historical Society envisions the museum site at Giant Mine as a place that celebrates all aspects of Yellowknife's interesting history, from its Indigenous stories, geological setting, prospecting, the industrial activities of the gold mines, and the pioneer entrepreneurs that began the town in the 1930s. Inside we will be displaying mining and Yellowknife history and that should broaden its appeal and increase the number of visitors.

Yellowknife Historical Society

Box 1856 Yellowknife NT X1A 2P4