by MCJ graduate
German Valley, Illinois
November 8, 2005
I was enthused with the commemoration to George E. Buchanan, a Detroit coal merchant. The words “On to Alaska with Buchanan” was a sincere gesture painted on a canyon wall in Skagway. It was painted by a group of boys from Cleveland, Ohio, who went on one of the summer tours with Buchanan to see Alaska. You can view this fairly closely by taking the White Pass & Yukon Route railway train ride. You can see this at Mile Marker 8.6.
Mr. Buchanan had a vision about taking both boys and girls to see Alaska. However, he wanted them to learn the art of earning and saving money. If these youths wanted to go along on these adventurous trips to Alaska with Buchanan, he had a strict rule. The youth had to at least pay a third of the cost of the trip. This left the parents paying one-third and Buchanan paying the rest. Buchanan continued taking the boys and girls (but mostly boys) on these adventurous trips annually for 15 years. Each group had 50 youths in it. These groups would leave from Detroit to Alaska in the summer. Buchanan and the youths would depart in mid-July and travel first-class by train across Canada to Vancouver, B.C., and Puget Sound. Then they would take a steamer for 3 days and then arrive in Skagway. Once in Skagway, they got on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad to travel to the lake country and then made a transfer by boat to Atlin. Numerous years later, members of the various Buchanan Boys groups returned to Skagway to ride the WP&YR to reminisce their wonderful trips with Buchanan.
If you are interested in seeing the Buchanan Commemoration, I recommend that you take the White Pass & Yukon Route railway train ride. It is located at Mile Marker 8.6. The White Pass & Yukon Route’s phone number is 800/343-7373. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The price range for an adult ticket is $99 to $109, depending on where you purchase it.
From journal Alaska: An Amphibian, Brothels, Fish, a Choo Choo