Ainsworth company offered train tickets to investors
Another in a series about Kootenaiana on the online auction block.
An 1896 bond from the Kootenai Mining and Development Company of Ainsworth and Chicago was snapped up last month for the bargain price of $20 US.
The bond promised to pay Alex Larsen $10 plus 10 per cent annual interest beginning in 1901 and was signed by secretary J. Rogers and president S H. Wood, a Minneapolis stock and grain broker.
The company was incorporated in 1893 with a capital stock of $1 million, and according to an ad that year in the St. Paul Daily Globe, the company offered “A first-class ticket to Ainsworth over the Great Northern railroad” to every purchaser of 2,500 shares, or a round-trip ticket with 5,000 shares.
At that time the company’s president was Willis Baker, its secretary J.B. McArthur and its treasurer Robert V. Noble.
Although the company boasted of owning “several valuable silver claims in the rich camp near Ainsworth,” it’s not clear exactly which ones, nor how successful they were. The bond includes the words “Famous Bluebell mines” on it, but this was probably just a ruse to lure investors. The Bluebell was owned by the similarly named — but unaffiliated — Kootenay Mining and Smelting Company.
By 1900, Henderson’s directory of BC mining companies said the company was “reported inactive.”
• Noteworthy postcard sales: A beautiful bird’s-eye-view of the Nakusp waterfront, showing the SS Bonnington, went for $25 US. A poor lithograph of two stately homes on Victoria Avenue in Grand Forks, ca. 1905, with Observation Mountain in the background, sold for $32 Cdn.
And a 1930s bird’s-eye-view of Nelson taken from the Gyro Park lookout sold for $34 Cdn. It shows in fine detail Hall Street and Lake Street — home to Chinatown and the red light district — as well as the Front Street warehouse district.
Two postcards of Columbia Avenue in Rossland drew 19 bids each and sold for $27 and $31 Cdn. The former, postmarked 1907, was taken looking east and shows a long line of false-fronted buildings long since burned or demolished, including the Hunter Bros. Big Store, with giant letters on its roof.
The latter, mailed in 1914, is looking west, with the LeRoi mine visible on the hillside above.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on October 11.