During my stay in Dawson City, I was recommended to visit the Klondike Dredge No. 4 – one of the last and largest dredges in a world set in the heart of the Klondike Gold Fields. I was told by the locals that a person would only become to understand the history of this place after visiting the gold mining fields and the dredge itself which was quite a motif to hit the road.
So in the morning of September 5th, my friend and I began our journey to this historical site. We drove from Dawson along Bonanza Creek Road when we finally reached the dredge. The first thing I thought was that this place is magic. I could smell and feel the breath of History, to hear those who searched and panned for gold.
I was amazed by the sheer size of this structure – huge outside massive inside. It was amazing when you think that it was taken up piece by piece on the steam boats. The dredge was set in 20 feet of permafrost 30 years ago but they’ve melted it down to the bottom level and are painstakingly rebuilding it. It is an engineering treasure and technical example of intellectual solution for physical backbreaking job!
Back in time, the Klondike Dredge No. 4 was the largest dredge in North America with around 1200 employees constantly working in it. It operated for 46 years, generating 8.6 million dollars in gold which is 22 680 gr. of gold a day – a huge amount of money! Today, the dredge is a tourist attraction, which is, fortunately, well preserved due to a Parks Canada effort. So every tourist, like us, had the chance to go in and take a walk around. At the time we were at the site, the dredge was being restored but we could go there anyway. It was nice that there was a guide available so we did not hesitate to pay for a tour inside it. The 45 minute tour costed around $15 so I think it is well worth it.
After we went out we spent another our just sitting by the dredge, talking with some of the tourist attended the tour. The common opinion was that this was one of the hidden gems in Canada, which was worth visiting. Not only because of the historic point of view, but also the feeling it gives every person, standing beside the dredge.