Page 2 - Watson Lake Guide
P. 2

 WATSON LAKE HISTORY AND THE HIGHWAY
Early in 1897, American (Lake Tahoe) Frank Watson, at the age of 14, left California and headed north with his father to seek gold in the Klondike.
They worked two claims on Bonanza Creek until sometime after the flood of 1903 when he headed to the Upper Liard River area. He was the first white man to travel over land
to this area, most traveled on the rivers. He married Adela Stone and they settled on the shores of Fish Lake, later to be known as Watson Lake and led a life of a prospector and trapper.
He moved his family a few miles north to Windid Lake as more people started to settle in the area. He died in 1938 after contracting pneumonia while in Lower Post. He died
en route to Fort Saint John after being airlifted out on a mail plane. His children and grandchildren continue to be an intricate part of the Watson Lake community.
Airport construction, in conjunction with the construction of the Alaska Highway a year later, signaled the true beginning of the town of Watson Lake. The community started as an accommodations and supply centre for this construction.
The “Alcan Project” was a response by the American Army to the perceived threat
of Japan during the Second World War. It provided an overland supply link between Alaska and the lower 48 states. The original highway, little more than a rough trail of
2,450 km (1,522 miles) from Dawson Creek, B.C., to Delta Jct., Alaska, then on to Fairbanks, Alaska, was built in the remarkable time of 8 months, 12 days.
Today, the town of Watson Lake is the
key transportation, communication and distribution centre for mining and logging in the southern Yukon and northern British Columbia. It is also a major service area for tourism and is the “Yukon’s Gateway.”
      Photo: Earl Brown
 





















































































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