Yukon Nuggets

1900 Yukon Nuggets

H.E. Porter


The community of Porter Creek has grown by leaps and bounds since the mid-sixties when the city of Whitehorse put lots for sale in the new subdivision at $300 for a 200 by 200-foot building lot. Times have certainly changed. So has Porter Creek. Like nearby McIntyre Creek, Porter Creek has an interesting local history. It is named for H.E. Porter, who was a mining man and a friend of John McIntyre. Exactly when he arrived in the Yukon - or from where - is a mystery, though it was likely around 1900.

He spent at least a decade in the Yukon, mostly in the Whitehorse area, searching the land for mineral deposits. And he found the biggest copper deposit in the Whitehorse Copper Belt.

Porter was the original owner of the famed Pueblo Mine on the Fish Lake road. Between 1906 and 1917, the mine employed at least 200 miners and shipped an astounding 150 thousand tons of copper and silver ore. The raw ore, shipped to the outside smelters by the White Pass rail, including a spur line from the Copper Belt to the main line, produced an astonishing ten million pounds of copper and 150 thousand ounces of silver valued in 1913 at two million dollars.

Porter also staked coal deposits in the Carmacks area, including the Division Coal Mine which today is a valuable property with an estimated 45 million metric tons of high quality coal reserves. He also lived for a time with his wife in the Wheaton River valley, where he hunted and prospected for a living.

Just how much money Porter earned in his years of roaming the Yukon hills remains a mystery. So does his birthplace. The last known report of his activities is from the Whitehorse Star of 1912, when they said that he was in the country and continuing to prospect. But Porter was probably not around when the terrible tragedy occurred at his Pueblo Mine discovery. In 1917, the mine caved in, trapping nine men deep underground. They rescued three but six miners were entombed, and the Pueblo Mine was closed.

A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.