Third in a series on local place names
The Alamo mine, staked in 1892 during the initial Silvery Slocan rush, was worked off and on for 40 years along with an adjoining claim, the Idaho. While records are spotty, by 1926, the two had produced more than 25,000 tons of silver, lead, zinc, and copper with a gross value of $825,000. (Well over $11 million today.)
A Minnesota syndicate led by Nathaniel Moore bought the mines in 1894 and built a concentrator and mill at a site between New Denver and Three Forks called New Duluth, after the city from whence he came.
The name first appeared in the Ledge of January 31, 1895: “Sixty tons of ore from the Idaho are being hauled daily, and the bins are almost full. New Duluth is the name given to the mill site.”
The Ledge of November 7 of that year added: “New Duluth is one mile from Three Forks, and is commonly called the Concentrator.”
New Duluth was never an official name of any sort — it showed up in newspapers but wasn’t the name of the Nakusp and Slocan Railway siding.
According to historian Innes Cooper, “I cannot find any information as to what they called this siding … [T]he name New Duluth, while having limited use, was not used on government documents or maps and the only name in general use was ‘the concentrator,’ up until the name Alamo was adopted … My judgment would be that it was likely named New Duluth by Mr. Moore but the name was not generally accepted by the public of the day.”
It’s not clear when the place became known as Alamo, although it was between September 29, 1898, when New Duluth was last mentioned in The Ledge, and April 1, 1899 when the Alamo post office opened. Later it was known as Alamo Siding, as in this example from The Ledge of June 20, 1912: “There is a 200-ton mill, complete and in good repair at Alamo siding.”
The post office closed on September 30, 1904, re-opened on August 1, 1919 and closed again on August 4, 1939.
As for how the mine got its name, who knows. Alamo is Spanish for poplar tree. In the BC Archives place names file, D.B. Lawrence of the University of Minnesota suggested it was “Possibly named by some loyal Texas gold miner in honor of the historic Alamo battle at San Antonio, Texas.”
Next week: Are there snakes in Anaconda?
Previous installments in this series