Fort Herchmer (1897-1966) - A North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post first established in 1897 in present day Dawson, Yukon, Canada. Named after Colonel Lawrence William Herchmer, a commissioner of the NWMP. Abandoned by the RCMP in 1966.
History of Fort Herchmer
A North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post first established in 1897.
With the discovery of gold at Rabbit Creek, the gold-seekers in the Yukon shifted to the Dawson area. Surveyed by William Ogilvie, the town was named for George Dawson of the Geological Survey of Canada. A portion of the town, some 40 acres, was set aside for the government. The NWMP began constructing Fort Herchmer in 1897 at Dawson to cope with the thousands of gold seekers. The NWMP moved some buildings from Fort Constantine at Forty-Mile and began constructing new ones. A detachment of the Yukon Field Force, some 50 men, was sent from Fort Selkirk to support the NWMP.
The legendary Sam Steele arrived on 5 Sep 1898 and assumed command as NWMP Commissioner. Steele was a hands-on commissioner who personally created a system that made the Klondike Gold Rush one of the most orderly events of its kind. He fortified all the access points, collected tariffs and established the requirement that every gold seeker had to bring a ton of supplies to enter the gold fields. He even established a water safety program that removed unsafe boats and crews from the dangerous rivers in the area.
The workload was so great for Steele and his men that the NWMP established both a detachment and a town station in 1900. The town station was responsible for in-town patrols and had a separate station.
The Dawson post had 51 police, 5 special constables (dog drivers) when Steele arrived on 5 Sep 1898. There were outposts at Fort Constantine, Stewart River Post, and Fort Selkirk. The Field Force left in 1900, but the duties undertaken by the NWMP remained steady.
By 1910, as the gold rush was tailing off, the Dawson detachment had only 20 to 25 men.
Some of the buildings remained in use by the RCMP until 1966.
Some five or six buildings remaining on the former fort site plus the Commissioner's Residence in Dawson, Yukon, Canada.