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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/471

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A YEAR'S PROGRESS IN THE KLONDIKE.

Horse Rapids. So here, as in the olden days of the Mississippi, the struggle for supremacy has led to the opening of the throttle and to the scraping of the fire box. Upward of a hundred arrivals from down the river were registered at Dawson during the season of open water of 1899.

Dawson has been further put into comparatively close touch with the outer world by the entry of the telegraph, and since the early days of October messages have been freely going to the seaboard at Skaguay. It is true that a cableless stretch of hundreds of miles still separates this town from the nearest port of importance on the continent, but doubtless before very long even this blank in the line of communication will have been supplied. It may be first by means of wireless telegraphy, as it is mooted that the Canadian Government looks with favor upon experimentation with the Marconi system; or, what is more likely, the desired end will be brought about by the laying of a continuous wire. The extraordinary rapidity with which the five hundred to six hundred miles of land wire were laid—five and seven miles per day—speaks well for the morale of the Canadian sapper and engineering service.

In its commercial and residential aspects the city has made vast progress. The days of ingulfing mires are virtually over, and from one end of the town almost to the other, one may safely tread the streets on secure board sidewalks. Not alone the main street is furnished in this way, but also several of the streets running parallel with it, and parts of streets that run across at right angles. A wise enactment, not perhaps absolutely just in its details, has swept off the shacks and booths from the river side of the front street, and one now enjoys an almost uninterrupted view of the opposing bank of the stream, already marred by giant advertising letters announcing bargain sales in merchandise, and directing to particular shops in the metropolis of the North.

The shops of Dawson have risen to the dignity of establishments having corrugated-iron covers, plate-glass fronts, and redwood shelves and counters. Following closely upon the pioneer constructions—department stores, they might be classed—of the Alaska Commercial Company are the depots of the North American Trading and Transportation Company, the Alaska Exploration Company, Ames Mercantile Company, and the Yukoner Company, several with retaining warehouses placed beyond the reach of a city fire and with dimensions that would lend dignity to locations of much larger size than the emporium of the North. Many of the smaller shops also carry a varied line of goods, but others are restricted to a specialty, and their wares are now offered at rates which are in the main only reasonably in advance of the "high"