Yukon Nuggets

  • Klondike Big Inch Land Co., 1950.

  • Klondike Big Inch Land Co., 1950.

1955 Yukon Nuggets

The Big Inch Company


In the 1950s, millions of North American kids owned land in the Klondike. They dreamed about mining, farming, fencing, building cabins, raising sled dogs. They dreamed the dreams of early Klondikers, and like the majority of the gold seekers of 1898, the kids of the 50s had their dreams turn to dust.

It was one of the most successful public relations campaigns of its time. In 1955, the Quaker Oats company bought a parcel of worthless land six miles downstream from Dawson City. A deed to one square inch of the land was available in every box of Quaker Oats. The “Klondike Big Inch Company” took the children of the 50s by storm. The kids urged their parents to buy boxes of the cereal - and buy they did. The kids snapped up more than 21 million boxes of puffed cereal containing the deed to Klondike land.

The cereal and the deeds became outrageously popular because they were promoted on one of radio’s most successful kid’s shows. “The Challenge of the Yukon” starring Sergeant Preston and his dog, Yukon King, sledded across the airwaves from 1947 to 1957, loaded with Quaker Puffed Wheat. In 1955, Sergeant Preston offered the deeds during commercial breaks in the program.

The promotional scheme made the company number one in the very competitive breakfast cereal market. The kids wanted to know more about their land. They wrote the company in record numbers seeking details of the exact location of their one square inch. They wanted to know how to mine it, if they could fence it in, what they could build on it. The kids of the 50s were proud and possessive of their land in the Klondike. One deed-holder had amassed 10,800 deeds.

Alas, none of the land was ever developed. Years later, Quaker Oats let the land lapse for back taxes. It was listed for sale for 37 dollars in back taxes. I don’t know if anyone picked up the option.

Maybe Erik Nielsen knows. You see, he was the lawyer retained by Quaker Oats to buy the land for the Klondike Big Inch Company. If you happen to have a deed to the land, it’s worth about $45 to a collector


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.