MV TARAHNE When Atlin was gaining popularity among world travellers as a tourist destination the White Pass and Yukon Company built a Motor Vessel, not far from the spot were the vessel is resting now. The MV TARAHNE was launched in 1917 and for almost 20 years hauled passengers and freight across the lake and offered cruises cruise around Teresa Island with a close up view of Llewellyn Glacier. Passengers were spoiled by Stewards in white jackets serving tea and petite fours. When in 1936 the White Pass discontinued the Atlin tours for reasons no one wanted to believe, and left the TARAHNE on the beach, citizens fully expected she would sail again, but after a couple of quiet summers, they knew her reign was over. She was a constant reminder of an era of prosperity when gold mines thrived, and excited tourists hurried down her gangplank, 400 of them every week.
She endured the battering of the weather and pilfering of vandals, and fifty years later she sat there still, gray and forlorn, on the cribbing that had settled dangerously under her weight. She had become an attractive hazard. Still, she held too many rich memories to simply be destroyed, and the expense of restoration seemed out of reach. By 1985, she was the problem of the Atlin Historical Society, which for years had appealed for help in all directions, to no avail. Fundraisers had brought in money enough for patch work repairs, but little more. Eventually, a marine architect came to assess the overall picture of decay, and warned it was only a matter of time before the old girl toppled off her cribbing.
In 1985, the Atlin Historical Society received a grant from British Columbia Heritage Trust to save the TARAHNE. The old “problem” was soon level and resting on new cribbing; she was scraped and painted. The weather deck was recanvassed and bathrooms restored. She had replica life boats and linoleum made in Scotland which were donated by Yukon Heritage, after fire ended restoration of the S.S.TUTSHI at Carcross. While visions of the flaming demise of the TUTSHI were still fresh, a sophisticated sprinkler system was installed. Before long, the public was allowed aboard again. In her new life, the big boat has become a romantic venue for summer weddings, a perfect place for small receptions, luncheons, conferences, musical entertainment, meetings, dinner theatre, parties and the Historical Societies annual Tarahne Tea. The tea is created and served, in the style of the 1920’s, by some 50 volunteers. Most of these willing workers have no active connection care of the TARAHNE. However, they know this important fundraiser helps take imagine the Atlin waterfront without her.
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