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Friday, August 2, 2013

Way Up North - part one

The front of this post card is titled: "SERVICE OF THE NORTHLAND, ALTIN, B.C." While searching for "Altin" I found nothing, but another town showed up: Atlin, British Columbia. I followed my instincts and found that the name of the post card is misspelled.
Atlin is an existing small isolated community in the NW corner of British Columbia, on the traditional lands of the Taku River Tlingits. Glacial-fed Atlin Lake is 4 miles wide and 85 miles long, in a wide wilderness valley surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Atlin is a 2 to 3 hour drive from Whitehorse Yukon or Skagway Alaska. Current population is 300 to 500 full-time residents. During the Klondyke Gold Rush of 1898, the population was 10,000! Many buildings from that era still exist. Though Mining and Tourism underpin the economy of Atlin, there is a large and very influential number of artists, artisans and authors in this very special little-known community. This information was taken from the website of the town: If you draw a straight line between Whitehorse in Yukon and Juneau in Alaska, Atlin is at the half-way point and a few kilometers east of the line. Atlin was founded in 1898 after European explorers Fritz Miller and Kenny McLaren discovered gold nearby in Pine Creek. The White Pass and Yukon Railway Company recognized Atlin's potential as a tourist destination and promoted the town to the fullest.

I also found that Atlin had at least three railway companies named after it:

The Atlin Railway Company was incorporated in 1914 and went from Atlin to a point on the US boundary at Taku River.

The Atlin Short Line Railway and Navigation Company was incorporated in 1899 to build from Taku Arm, Cassiar District, along the valley of Atlintoo River, on the north side of the river, to near where the Atlintoo River leaves Atlin Lake. The company was dissolved by the Defunct Railway Companies Act of 1926-27.

The Atlin Southern Railway Company was also incorporated in 1899 to build from Log Cabin, on the White Pass to the Taku Arm of Taglish Lake, from the entrance of Atlintoo River into Taglish Lake and from Atlin City to Telegraph Creek,with branches.The company was also dissolved by the Defunct Railway Companies Act of 1926-27.

In my searching I also found a picture on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad's website ( The bridge on that card looks extremely like the bridge on this post card. So I am concluding that this train belonged to the original White Pass and Yukon Railway. My next step was to look at my collection of train post cards and see if I could corroborate the story with some other kind of "proof". I am posting that picture today in a second post because the blogging site's program is having trouble doing what I want it to in this blog posting. So, take a look at Way Up North - part two.

In the upper right hand corner of the back of this post card, where the stamp usually goes, the letters AZO are printed four times to make the square for the stamp placement. In each corner of this square are four other squares. This tells us that this is a Kodak paper called AZO and was used between 1926 and the 1940s.

This paper and development process was suitable for making contact prints, rather than enlargements for which the source of light would be much weaker.

Because of the destiny of the three railways mentioned above, I have a tendency to date this card into the late 1920s.

Take a look at the second half of this post...

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.