In 1900, this was a flag stop on the newly constructed White Pass & Yukon Route railway. The station was named after a company director, Colin Mcrae. The station gained importance when a new wagon road to Carcross intersected the railway here. In 1911, White Pass built a 12-mile rail line from McCrae to the Whitehorse Copper Belt. The spur line operated for about ten years until low copper prices closed the mines.
In 1942, American army troops arrived via rail and the old Carcross wagon road to build the pioneer Alaska Highway. Mcrae, now spelled McCrae, became a large military camp with a telephone repeater station, a relay station and a complex of warehouses and maintenance shops. While the highway was under American control, military police at a traffic stop just south of the tracks checked the papers of all highway travellers.
In the same year, a Public Roads Administration contractor, Metcalfe-Hamilton-Kansas City Bridge Company, set up a major construction camp here. McCrae became a sprawling, bustling community with its own theatre, store and recreation centre. Whitehorse residents often came out to watch the latest movies or attend a dance.
The McCrae camp was closed down soon after the end of WWII. Many of the buildings were dismantled and shipped out by rail. Others, including the two-storey structure which became the original McCrae hotel and truck stop, were sold to local people.
Hey there globe trotter! You are on the 135th meridian, 1,368 kilometres west of Los Angeles, California.
You may travel across some important lines as you drive Yukon's scenic highways. The majority of the Alaska /Yukon border lies along the 141st meridian, 457 kilometres by road to the west. The northern hemisphere is bordered by the equator and the north pole and is divided by the Arctic Circle, 900 kilometres north and west of here by road. Most of the southern Yukon border lies along 60º north latitude, or we could also say the border line is on the 60th parallel.
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